The goal is to get the PCI back on track: Deepa Malik on being elected president

CHANDIGARH: Newly elected president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) Deepa Malik You have set your goals directly from day one. The silver medalist of the Rio Paralympic Games said her first priority is to help PCI recover recognition and end the deadlock of four months.

The sports ministry had de-recognised the Paralympic Committee of India , citing violation of the National Sports Code in the body's decision to fire the president Rao Inderjit Singh .

Welcoming an athlete-centered approach to paramedic sports in India, Malik spared no words while listing his priorities immediately after his election for first place. It is extremely encouraging to be entrusted with such an important responsibility. I feel that this is a welcome step for para-sports in the country to have people who know the expectations of athletes well. My main responsibility is to carry forward the interests of the athletes and I hope to use my position with constructive changes in the organization, Malik told TOI by phone.

I am fairly new to the administrative side and will sit with the old office bearers to discuss the functioning of the PCI. I hope the decision to elect an athlete will only help us realign, she added.

Malik said while the main focus will be on getting the PCI back on track, it is the financial side that bothers her and highlighted on working towards getting more revenue for the organization.

The first priority will be to try to obtain the recognition of the ministry, which will help us organize the Nationals. Having national tournaments will help our athletes get cash prizes from their respective state governments, jobs and also enroll in national policies, he said.

The second and most important will be to reset all bank accounts that have been frozen after being discharged. We need revenue to organize tournaments across the country, it's not just about the existing players, it's also related to the discovery of new talents from all over India and nurturing them, Malik added.

Being tested how difficult it is for athletes to, especially in a Paralympic year, prepare without a functional administrative body, Malik said: In fact it is difficult. But fortunately many of our athletes are under the government's objective Olympic podium (TOPS) scheme, so they were able to continue with their usual training.

I hope that once we take charge, we can provide that umbrella of comfort to the athletes and help them obtain more and more praise for the country in the next Paralympic Games, he concluded.

Gursharan Singh, who was acting as interim president after former chief Rao Inderjit Singh was removed from his post last year, was also elected unopposed as secretary general.

Kavender Chaudhury and Shashi Ranjan Prasad Singh were elected vice presidents, while M Mahadeva was appointed treasurer. Nale Nandkishor Baburao and Kantilal Parmar were elected as joint secretaries.

The returning officer, R Radha, a retired judge of the district and additional sessions, while announcing the office's headlines, said the results will be subject to new orders that will be approved in a pending case before the Delhi Superior Court.

Deepa, also awarded with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and winner of Padma Shri, also won a silver medal at the IPC World Championship in 2011 at the F 52-53 bullet throw event, in addition to bagging a silver disc (F 52 -53) and javelin throwing events (F 53-54) at the 2018 Asian Games.

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