Kanchanmala Pande, a completely blind para-athlete swimmer from Nagpur, along with five other athletes, was to participate in the Para-Swimming Championships at Berlin from July 3rd to 9th. But she was left in utter misery after the sponsorship money from Sports Authority of India was not released by Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
With no money for hotel and food expenses, Kanchanmala resorted to begging on the streets of the German capital.
"I was not given any official confirmation if I would receive a reimbursement for the expenses I bore. I had to pay around Rs 70,000 (£844) for the hotel and more than Rs 40,000 (£482) for food," Kanchanmala was quoted as saying told Mail Today.
The athlete also said that her name was put in the 50m backstroke category by PCI, instead of adding her in the 100m category.
Her coach, Kanwaljeet Singh from PCI, was allegedly not around for help. "He (Singh) didn't help me at all. I used to go back to the hotel just with my escort and god knows where he 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 a ticket and was caught by the checker who later fined me £120 (about Rs 10,000),' Kanchanmala said.
She also claimed that Singh asked for a participation fee, which was supposed to be covered by PCI.
Even through all the hardships, Kanchanmala qualified in the 100m Freestyle ( clocking a time of 1:34:00), 100m Backstroke (1:41:00), 100m Breaststroke (2:01:00) and 200m Individual Medley (3:03:00). She won the silver medal in the Individual medley, becoming the only Indian female swimmer to qualify for the World Championship.
PCI vice president Gurucharan Singh said that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had not sanctioned the amount for the tournament. "The swimmers will be given back their money. As for the coach problem, I am not aware of it. As soon as I get back to India, we will talk to the swimmers and carry out an inquiry if needed," he was quoted as saying by Mail Today.