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Protest by Kerala para sportspersons to draw attention to struggle for facilities, funding

Fed up with their appeals being repeatedly ignored, many top para sportspersons held a protest in Trivandrum to demand greater financial and infrastructural support from the government.

About 30 para sportspersons from across the state gathered at the Kerala State Sports Council led by the Physically Challenged All Sports Association. They were led by para archer, Kishor A M.

Also present were respected Paralympians like Vaisakh S R, Vineesh M.R, Abdul Munir K and national-level players Suma V, Manikandan, Mohammed Shafi, among others. Lending support to the cause was P C George, an MLA who assured those gathered that he would take up their cuase.

All we need is equal opportunity and facilities that are given to all sportspersons like free training, equipment, playgrounds, arenas and stadiums. We deserve the same facilities as others. - Kishor A.M, Physically Challenged All Sports Association.

The sad truth is that despite sterling performances by Indian para sportspersons, getting access to basic facilities remains a struggle especially in small towns. At the village and district levels, funding is a perennial issue.

One of the demands raised at the protest was for sports events to be held for disabled people so they have a chance to prove their mettle. This way more disabled people have a chance to showcase their talents. Many para sportspersons also have to rely on personal funds to continue training.

"Para sportspersons get no help from the government in Kerala", points out Sujina S B, State Coordinator, Physically Challenged All Sports Association, Kerala. "We have been raising our voice and will continue to fight for the demands."

Sad words coming from a para athlete who is also a national-level para Taekwondo medal winner.

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