Today when India is celebrating the historic victories of its sportswomen like Mirabai Chanu, PV Sindhu and Lovlina Borgohain at the Tokyo Olympics, another female athlete was allegedly dropped from participating in an upcoming sports tournament to be held in Poland. The Sports Authority of India (SAI), according to a media report, was unwilling to send a female athlete alone with five male athletes.

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Sameeha Barwin, an athlete with hearing impairment from the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, was selected during the national trails to participate in the 4th World Deaf Athletics Championships to be held from August 23-28 in Poland. She, however, was allegedly denied the opportunity as she is the only female in the contingent of six, the Newsminute report said.

The 18-year-old is a long jump and 100-meter track athlete who had been competing since she was 12. She has won gold medals at three national athletic championships for deaf athletes held in Jharkhand in 2017, Chennai in 2018 and Calicut in 2019.

Sameeha reportedly cleared the trials in 2019 in New Delhi by scoring above the qualifying limit of 4.25 m in the long jump category. Later the All India Sports Council for the Deaf (AISCD) announced national selection trials for the World Deaf Athletics Championships. The list had names of 2 women including Sameeha but the other woman failed to qualify for the trials.

So, since the final list had only one woman, i.e, Sameeha in it, the sports authority allegedly decided to drop Sameeha. 

Sameeha’s family attempted to get her name back on the list but to no use.

“I was told that they cannot send my daughter alone as she is only a female athlete and also arrangements cannot be made for an escort due to shortage of funds,” said Sameeha’s parent according to Newsminute.

Meanwhile, the MP of the Kanyakumari constituency wrote to the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur requesting him to ensure that the athlete is included in the Poland squad. The letter was written on July 26.

Sameeha’s parents alleged that despite the letter reaching the minister’s office within a couple of days, no action has been taken.

As per reports, the team representing India is set to leave for Poland on August 14. TNM has reached out to the sports federations for a response, and a reply is awaited