Para-powerlifter Sakina Khatun is all set to take part in the upcoming CWG in Gold Coast after the Commonwealth Games Federation granted a conditional slot to her in view of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ she had faced.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has accepted the conditional slot while accepting CGF’s demand to send a report from a recognised medical professional demonstrating her mental well-being to compete in the multi-sport event.
Khatun, who won a bronze in powerlifting in the women’s lightweight (up to 61kg) category in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, did not initially figure in the Indian para-sport team for the Gold Coast CWG (April 4-15) after which she had threatened to commit suicide if she was not allowed to take part in the Games.
The IOA then swung into action and requested the CGF to allow Khatun’s participation in the Games. “The CGF confirmed that, with the agreement of IPC (International Paralympic Committee), that, given the exceptional circumstances, Ms Sakina Khatun should be awarded a conditional slot in women’s lightweight Para Powerlifting event at the Games. The CGF asked CGA India to confirm acceptance of the conditional slot, which it has now done,” a statement from the CGF said.
“As such, the slot is conditional on the CGF receiving confirmation from CGA India that a report has been provided by a recognised medical professional demonstrating the athletes mental well-being is such that she can cope with the associated pressures of competing on the international stage,” a spokesperson of the CGF said.
India must provide this confirmation to the CGF by March 2 and IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said this will be done. “We will do the necessary procedure and send the report before deadline,” Mehta told PTI.
The CGF also stated its genuine concerns for the mental well-being of Khatun, noting the severity of her response to her non-selection and her alleged position to conduct self-harm if the matter was not addressed. “The CGF confirmed that it reserves the right to withdraw the slot if CGA India fails to submit this confirmation and/or the information provided does not satisfy the CGFs concerns in respect to the well-being of the athlete.”
The CGF is currently awaiting the medical report, but has received assurances from CGA India that the documentation will be provided by the deadline,” the CGF said in the statement.
Earlier, the IOA had blamed the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) for Khatun’s exclusion from the country’s team for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The IOA said that the PCI did not send Khatun’s name before deadline despite repeated reminders.