Bandipora: Scores of specially-abled persons from north Kashmir districts showcased their talent and spirit in a range of sports activities at the SK Sports Stadium in Bandipora on Wednesday.
The event was organised by the district disability rehabilitation programme in Bandipora in association with the She Hope Society for Women Entrepreneurs, and sponsored by the HCL Foundation. The participants competed in wheelchair races, cricket matches, chess, and carrom.
Showkat Ahmad Mir, a 20-year-old from Baramulla and captain of the cricket team that won against Baramulla, said he was happy to be part of the event and urged other disabled persons to join such activities.
“They don’t have to lose hope or shy away from things. They need to come out and show their talent to the world,” he said.
Mohammad Shafi Mir, a wheelchair-bound student from Hajin who is pursuing a BSc degree and preparing for NEET, also appreciated the initiative for highlighting the issues and aspirations of specially-abled people.
Syed Ashiq from Ganderbal, who has a crippling disability, has been playing cricket for almost seven years. He is the wicketkeeper for his team, despite his small stature and limited mobility.
“We are thankful for those who gave people like us an opportunity to play in Bandipora,” Syed said.
He expressed gratitude to the LG administration and requested them to invest in promoting and grooming specially-abled athletes for national-level events.
“It gives us courage whenever we get appreciation at events like this one,” he said.
Syed also had a message for those specially-abled youth who have fewer opportunities or who are confined to their homes.
“They should not lose hope and get up and fight every awkward situation. If they have a strong will, they can even break the steel,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Owais Ahmad, said that the participants were filled with enthusiasm while taking part in different activities. He said the activities “not only encourage youth but imbibe confidence in them to achieve great heights.”
He said the event gave many surprises and participants who were thought to be unable to perform scored top positions. He said such events will continue and the sports department has been asked to groom specially-abled youth and children with good talent so that they are trained for higher-level events.