National badminton star Aparna Balan has shared a humiliating experience she suffered at a local sports facility in Kerala.
The Commonwealth Games medallist spoke about her plight in a lengthy Facebook post. Aparna said she was insulted by a caretaker at the EMS Stadium at Kodumon in the Pathanamthitta district over 'user fee'.
According to her post, Aparna was at her husband's house in Pathanamthitta recently. Due to space constraints in the locality, the doubles ace reached out to the EMS Stadium, which is 20km away from her husband's place, so as to not skip her regular training.
"Even though it was a bit far, the stadium has a synthetic track and I do 2-3 sessions a week on tracks," Aparna wrote.
A well-behaved caretaker they met at the venue on the first day permitted them to use the facility and told them that the user fee could be settled in the end. "There was a board at the entrance that read national/international sportspersons could use the facility free of cost," she wrote.
"Today morning, as I was warming up, another man came up with a register and demanded the user fee. He said we have been using the facility for two months."
After training, she told the man that she was an international athlete. "I told him about the board at the entrance and said I need not pay the fee, but we will pay for my husband," to which the person demanded to see her certificates proving her international experience, Aparna wrote.
"I have been to stadiums in the country and abroad for nearly 20 years, but such an experience was a first. I stood there, before that man and other people, like a 'criminal' who had used the facility without paying the user fee," Aparna wrote.