Challenged Cricket

Hyderabad: The Wheelchair Cricket Team, which brought laurels to Telangana State during the past two years and would be playing the first national tri-series tournament in Rajasthan struggles to get support even from the State Government.

As even the physically-challenged persons are taking up new challenges and shining in all spheres of life, the sports has become one of the options for unplugging their talents. Same goes with the Telangana Wheelchair Cricket team under Para Sport Association which has won around four trophies. Moreover, in the last week of March the team will be going to play its first national tri-series tournament at Rajasthan. But the main issue of the cricket team is lack of support from the State Government. “Playing cricket may not be a challenge, but travelling to various places to participate in tournaments is little difficult for us.” says the players from Wheelchair Cricket team.

Shaik Ataullah, 22, Founder of Telangana Wheelchair Cricket team and a cricket player said, “The Telangana Wheelchair Cricket team started in 2019. Our motto was to ensure that the physically-challenged feel empowered and also have a good physical and mental well-being. But the main challenge we are facing is that India does not have proper disabled accessories. Wheelchair Cricket needs more dedication than the normal cricket needs. We need assistance particularly as travel support for players who would be playing outside of the State.”

Shaik believes cricket is in his blood, despite the fact that his life turned upside down during his childhood. When his kite got stuck in the cables of a transformer, he tried to recover it. During the attempt he lost one arm and two legs, but that did not change his passion for sports. Later he decided to form a cricket team representing persons like him and founded the Telangana Wheelchair Cricket team. Now there are around 30 players all between the age group of 21 to 32.

“Cricket allows us to feel empowered, but the lack of support from the government is disheartening. If they can help us and provide funding for travel and accommodation, it would be of great help. Till now we have been getting whatever support from NGOs and private companies. If we are recognised by the State Government, this would also serve as a platform for finding new talent,” said a player from the Telangana Wheelchair Cricket team.

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