Mangaluru: The Port City of Mangaluru was fortune enough to witness the first-ever Wheelchair cricket tournament meant for people with special needs, for this match taught some valuable life lessons.
The players fell several time from their wheelchairs in a bid to stop the opponent from hitting a six or from completing a run, but each time they fell, they dusted themselves and got back on the seat and left the spectators awestruck with their determination.
St Aloysius College organised the tournament to mark ‘disability awareness month-2019’, under ‘Sahodaya’, its outreach programme, at Sahyadri College Grounds in Adyar on Sunday, December 8. It is for the first time that wheelchair cricket tournament is being organised in Mangaluru. This wheelchair tournament was organised under the tagline of ‘Redefining Ability’ between Karnataka and Maharashtra players for 20 overs. While the boundary line is drawn at 60 yards otherwise, in a wheelchair cricket, the boundary line is drawn at 45 yards, which is the only difference between the normal cricket and the wheelchair cricket.
While speaking to the media, the captain of Karnataka team Sagar Gowda and Maharashtra captain Rahul Ramugade expressed their confidence of winning the match. “ We don’t want sympathy from anybody, but we want support,” they said.
Bharat Scouts and Guides district Commissioner N G Mohan, during the inauguration of the tournament said that people should support disabled persons. This is the only way to help them achieve something in life.
He narrated a story of a polio-affected girl Wilma Rudolph from USA, who bagged gold medals for her country.
“Doctors had informed Wilma’s parents that she will never be able to walk in her entire life. However, Wilma was not ready to accept what was told and was determined to script her life. After repeated efforts, she could stand on her feet. With leg braces on, she went on to win gold in 1960 summer Olympics. The success story of Wilma shows that one can do anything if there is proper support and hard work,” he said.
St Aloysius College Principal Rev Fr Dr Praveen Martis presiding over the programme informed that life was a gift given by God, which must be celebrated. Instead of focusing only on IPL or international cricket matches, we should focus on wheelchair cricket match, meant for disabled persons, which can change lives in many ways,” he said.
Sahodaya President Dhiraj Sequeira while giving introductory speech informed that Sahodaya has been organising different social service programmes every year. “ We have organised programmes for visually impaired, cricket tournament for blind among others. It is for the first time that we are organising wheelchair cricket tournament for disabled persons,” he said.
In the tournament, Karnataka team was declared as winners, while the Maharashtra team were satisfied with runners. The Man of the Match award was given to Thippeswamy of Karnataka team who scored 94 runs in 52 balls. The best bowler award was given to Santhosh R of Maharashtra.
The Karnataka team had managed to chase the set target of 148 runs in just 16 overs.