In spite of government apathy, this sports centre in Coimbatore hopes for the best
India is rich with para athletes and para sportsmen. But most of them go unnoticed due to lack of government support and encouragement. One such NGO that is struggling to promote para athletes is the Para Volleyball Association of Coimbatore (PVAC). In spite of having represented Tamil Nadu in national tournaments and having won numerous accolades, this NGO is struggling to even buy sports equipments!
Tamil Nadu is the only state that has over ten districts with exclusive volleyball teams. And the case of most of the teams is just the same. PVAC kick started in May 2018 under the guidance of Albert Premkumar. They recently represented Tamil Nadu in national tournaments at Rajasthan and Haryana, and they bagged prizes for both!
Unlike how it is played by people without disabilities, para volleyball is a sitting game. It has been recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as well. PVAC has over 12 team members, most of them who were disabled after accidents or have been affected by polio.
Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore is now a true saviour to this bunch of passionate para volleyball players. College authorities have agreed to lend their stadium premises for practice sessions during weekends!
Though Tamil Nadu does well in the national games, we do not get any support from the state government. All that we get in a meager Rs 10,000 when we hold a match! So our players have to fund for their own tickets, accommodation and food when we go for national tournaments. Volleyball sports equipments are quite expensive. Our NGO is funding for the equipments as well which comes up to thousands of rupees. This kind of apathy is extremely disheartening! We can do our country proud and perform in international platforms if the government helps us- Prince Durairaj, Secretary, Para Volleyball Association of Coimbatore
PVAC is a part of the Tamil Nadu Para Volleyball Association. It was started in Coimbatore so that disabled people who are interested in the game from the city can explore the sport better. Like most of the para sports, volleyball has also been sidelined. PVAC hopes to give a new lease of life to sportsmen and the sport in Coimbatore.
Arul Prakash is the Captain of the Tamil Nadu Para Volleyball Team. He is also a prominent member of PVAC.
"We have been active since the year 2012. After all these years, we still face a lot of financial constraints and this affects our game in different ways. Over the past few months, we have been getting meagre amounts as sponsorship. But that is not enough to meet ends", says Arul.
In spite of government apathy and ignorance, these sportsmen are gearing up for the upcoming national level championship that will be hosted at their hometown in Coimbatore in the month of December. Their undying spirits are a true inspiration!