An Indian para-athlete was forced to borrow money in Berlin from a friend and was fined for travelling without ticket on public transport after the funds allotted to her team by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) did not reach them, according to media reports. Kanchanmala Pande, who is blind, was participating in the Berlin Para Swimming Championships with five others, from July 3-9, reported Mail Today.
She allegedly took a loan of Rs five lakh. "I never thought I would face such problems... I had to qualify for the World Championships and I don't know why PCI didn't understand its importance," Kanchamala told Mail Today.
She ended up paying Rs 70,000 for the hotel and more than Rs 40,000 for food, besides arranging for their own visas, which cost Rs 15,000. The International Paralympic Committee appointed a coach, but Kanchamala said he wasn't helpful.
"I used to go back to the hotel just with my escort and god knows where he (Singh) used to be. Once, I took a tram from the tournament venue to my hotel and I had no money. I had to travel without ticket and was caught by the checker who later fined me £120 (about Rs 10,000),' Kanchanmala told Mail Today.
Indian shooter and Olympian, Abhivav Bindra tweeted that the incident was "unacceptable", to which MoS-Youth Affairs & Sports, Vijay Goel, said funds were reportedly released to Paralympic Committee by Sports Authority of India.
Despite the hardships she faced, Kanchanmala and her teammate Suyash Jadhav won silver medals and qualified for the World Championships.
However, a reporter with Firstpost tweeted saying that she did not "beg" for money as the Mail Today report suggested, but did borrow it, after running out.