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December 31, 2004

Indian squad all set to leave for Deaflympics

From: Hindustan Times, India - Dec 31, 2004

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, December 31, 2005 | 21:30 IST

Overcoming the apathy of sponsors and Government alike, a 62-member Indian contingent, including defending badminton champion Rajeev Bagga, is all set to leave for Melbourne for the 20th Deaflympics beginning on January 5.

"We only sent our badminton and table tennis team for the last edition in Rome as we did not have enough sponsors to send all teams and came back home with three gold medals finishing seventh among 74 countries," Athletics coach Satnam Singh said.

"Despite winning laurels for the country at national and international level, the Sports Ministry includes deaf sports only in the 'no cost to the Government' list and not in the priority one.

"This makes it difficult for players to compete as sponsorships are hard to come by," Singh said on the sidelines of a send-off ceremony arranged by the All India Sports Council for the Deaf on Friday.

With Rs 75,000 deposit money being required for individual entry, India is participating only in five disciplines — athletics, badminton, swimming, table tennis and wrestling.

The Indians are again expecting a good show from the paddlers who finished fifth in the last edition in 2001. The country's medal hopes in athletics are Roshan Kumar Patel, Santosh Choubey and Sanjay Singh.

© HT Media Ltd. 2004.