In a country where the popularity of sports is limited to cricket, football, and maybe hockey, and the sportspersons excelling in them, it’s heartening to hear of those who defy the odds to become champions in a sport they have chosen to pursue.
We are talking of differently-abled sportspersons who, despite various challenges, are keeping their respective flags flying high by making a mark in sports.
They may not be able to see things, but their dreams are as high as any other individual. Giving a ray of hope and recognition to the talent of the blind women cricketers, Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) has launched this tournament where 7 states would be competing against each other.
Brian Lara was roped in by the Cricket Association of the Blind in India and was present at the inauguration of the tournament.
“I’m very grateful and blessed to have all my faculties to be able to do the things that I’ve done throughout my career. But if I was I suppose I will feel some sort of injustice. I would be like if I wasn’t given a fair share. But I’ll come to terms with it. And I’d want to do the same things that I have done, as opposed to what I say. I would want to go to school I want to learn. I want to be educated, I want to have a job. I want to have recreation. Now, these ladies and their tournament, just approaching. I feel very proud and humbled to be in their (participants’) presence. I feel that this is wonderful.”, he said.
“Disability should not be considered a hindrance to achieving one’s goals. I thoroughly appreciate this fantastic initiative taken by CABI and Samarthanam Trust in India and I am convinced that if such strong stakeholders come together around the world, then there is no reason why blind cricket will not see a growth world over. Such competitions will also provide a platform to such talented women and empower them.”
“I have followed India and their exploits in the men’s team, winning World Cups around the world. And of course, beaten Pakistan a lot of times. I want to wish the ladies I want to wish the association. All the best for this tournament. I think it’s a great initiative. India has a wonderful ladies team. In the game against England, I remember the finals. But this is an opportunity,” Lara added.
“For the last 29 years the men’s team is playing and we always talk about women’s empowerment. With the help of CABI and Samarthanam [Trust for the Disabled], we have been talking but there was no action. Today we’re kicking off.” – Shailendra Yadav, secretary, Cricket Association for the Blind-North Zone.
“It is a very big platform for us and we will play to win.” – Ankitha Singh, the captain of the Delhi team.
The tournament’s cause is also being championed by one of India’s leading woman cricketers Smriti Mandhana.
Seven teams representing their respective states of Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha & West Bengal will fight it out in the league stages over the first two days spread over three venues in Siri Fort Sports Complex, DDA Sports Complex in Saket and Jamia Milia University followed by the grand finale at Siri Fort Sports Complex on 19th December 2019.
An ardent cricket admirer who grew up watching a lot of cricket. She loves reading up articles for breakfast, prefers match discussions at lunch and finishes by analyzing games for dinner. A person who views sports as a metaphor of life.