Ban on PCI lifted till Paralympics, Indians can fly tri-colour

New Delhi: In a huge relief to several Indian para-athletes who have qualified for Rio Paralympics, the world governing body IPC has announced temporary lifting of suspension imposed on the national body last year so that Indians can take part under the tri-colour in the showpiece event.

International Paralympic Committee, on May 31, decided to lift the ban on the Paralympic Committee of India with the sole purpose of allowing para-athletes of the country to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games under the tri-colour.

Till now, a record number of 20 Indian para-athletes have qualified for the Rio Paralympics to be held from September 7 to 18.

The ban will be lifted only upto the end of Paralympics and it can be re-imposed after that if the PCI fails to implement the reforms outlined by the world body.

“IPC lifted the suspensions of the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of India and Costa Rica on 31 May with the sole purpose of allowing Para athletes from the two countries to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games under their respective national flags,” the world body said.

“Both India and Costa Rica need to make major reforms and the IPC will continue to closely monitor the implementation and timeline of these changes. Both countries will not fully satisfy their IPC membership until the reforms we have outlined to them are completed in full,” Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s Chief Executive Officer, said.

PCI Secretary J Chandrasekhar told PTI that the world body has made it clear that the ban can be re-imposed if India does not implement the reforms outlined by the world body.

“From what the IPC wrote to us it is like temporary lifting of the suspension till the end of the Rio Paralympics. They told us to implement the reforms outlined by them by then and if we don’t do that, the suspension can be re-imposed,” he said from Bangalore.

“We are on our toes to implement the reforms and hoping that we will be able to complete what IPC wants by then so that we return to Paralympic fold permanently,” he added.

PCI was being suspended in April last year due to internal conflicts between different groups and persons which were undermining the development of Paralympic Movement in India.

However, following meetings in Bonn, Germany, in May with representatives from Sport Authority of India, Sports Ministry and PCI, the IPC lifted the suspension temporarily to allow the para-athletes to compete under the Indian flag at Rio Paralympics 2016.