On one hand, the country is celebrating female athletes who performed wonderfully and brought home medals from the Tokyo Olympics. On the other hand, an 18-year-old athlete from Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari named Sameeha Barwin has been dropped from a world championship in Poland allegedly because of her gender.
According to Deccan Herald, Sameeha Barwin is a 100-metre track and long jump athlete who has won medals in three consecutive national championships. She suffers from a 90% hearing impairment. Reports suggest that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has dropped her from the upcoming 4th World Deaf Athletics Championship in Poland because she is the only female among 5 other male athletes.
Her family alleged that the All India Sports Council for the Deaf does not want to “send her alone” and have cited “logistics and other issues”. They have dropped her from the list of athletes going for the championship.
Sameeha is a three-time national gold medalist in deaf athletic championships which were held in Jharkhand (2017), Chennai (2018), and Calicut (2019). She has also set a new world record in the 100-metre track and broke the previous record set in 1986, reports Republic.
“The authorities have decided not to take my daughter to the competition. She is the only one from India who has qualified in the women’s category. The Indian Sports Association has decided that it is difficult to take only one girl,” Sameeha’s mother claimed, reports ABP.
EXCLUSIVE 🧵 on plight of #deafathletes in India. PLEASE RT, share and make more deaf athletes in India beware of how organizations like @AllIndiaSports5 are getting away with discriminatory and unfair practices. This is #SameehaBarwin ‘s story from Kanyakumari, TN @mkstalin pic.twitter.com/yLKU3zTaFP
— Chennapragada (She/Her) (@Jussri) August 5, 2021
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“This is not the first time we are facing discrimination. We were not given a place to stay and food to eat when we went to Jharkhand for a national championship. My daughter is being rejected just because she is a female. She deserves to participate,” she added.
Kanyakumari MP V Vijayakumar has written a letter to Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and has asked him to include Sameeha in the list of participants. He has also assured her that he will be funding her trip. However, he hasn’t received a response to his letter.
It is unacceptable for a promising athlete to be left out of an important championship because of her gender, don’t you think?