A group of Paralympic athletes in the western province of Herat claim their progress has been affected by government inattention, saying a lack of standard equipment and playing areas hinders them from joining overseas competitions.
Chess, wheelchair basketball, volleyball, powerlifting, badminton and futsal are the main sports practiced by the Paralympic athletes in Herat. There are at least 1,000 Paralympic athletes in the province and some of them have attended international events.
“Lack of support delays the progress of Paralympic athletes,” said Abdul Rahim Radmanish, an athlete.
“Previously, we were playing with wheelchairs that were not proper. We could not attend international events due to lack of standard wheelchairs,” said Farhad Mohammadi, an athlete.
Lack of wheelchairs and standard playing areas are the main problems mentioned by the athletes.
“We will help improve the situation of Paralympic athletes in the near future,” said Nadir Shah Haidari, head of the Herat Paralympic Federation.
Recently, Turkey provided assistance to Paralympic teams for 10 sports in Herat and has pledged further support for the athletes.
“There are twelve wheelchairs that can be used for different sports including basketball, tennis and badminton,” said Ali Arghoon Chinar, head of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) in Herat.