Arunachal: Spain bound para-shuttler appeals for govt help

Itanagar: Biri Takar, a 21-year-old para-shuttler from Arunachal Pradesh has created history by becoming the first para-athlete from the northeastern state to represent India in an international badminton event.

Takar, a native of Rakso village in Kra Daadi district, is among the 42 shuttlers selected by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) to compete at the Spanish Para Badminton International-II. The competition is scheduled to begin from February 27 at Zabalgana, Spain. 

Though Takar’s selection for the Indian team has brought joy to him, his family and well wishers, the happiness, however, could be a short-lived one as he is yet to secure a sponsor for his tickets and visa.

“We have been asked to bear our own expenses for the competition which is quite high (around Rs 4 lakh). I have been managing the same for all the national events on my own until now thanks to my family, well wishers and the Paralympic Association of Arunachal (PAA), but this time it is different. It is an international event that is being held in a European country. I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate unless I get some support from the government,” Takar told NewsFy.

Takar’s father is a Group-D technician at the Arunachal Pradesh State Transport Services.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to make my people and state proud so I appeal to the state government to support me as my only intention is to bring a good name to the state and country,” he said.

Takar said not just him, but all that the athletes who get selected for similar events need is a small push from the government and there are many who can bring laurels for the state and country.  

“The world knows about India and some of its big states. I want the world to know about Arunachal Pradesh so I’ll give my best to win this competition if given the opportunity,” he added.

PAA secretary general Techi Sonu said the PCI has asked all the selected athletes including Takar to get their tickets booked by the 20th of this month.

“As per the schedule given to us Takar has to reach New Delhi on February 23 from where he will be departing for Spain with other team members and PCI officials on February 25,” Sonu said.

The PAA secretary general said his association is making efforts to meet the chief minister and sports minister for their support but both of them are presently out of station.

“We are hoping that the CM and sports minister will help us once they know about Takar’s selection. I would at the same time also appeal to the people of the state to support and cheer for him as he has the potential to win the competition and make us all proud,” Sonu said.

Takar, who is currently pursuing his Master’s in Communication at the Rajiv Gandhi University here, was among the top 8 shuttlers (out of more than 580) from the country to be qualified for the Spanish Para Badminton International-II during the national championships held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha in December last year.

If things go well Takar will compete in the men’s singles (SL4) category for India.

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