Differently abled find level playing field

Determined contenders

Physically and mentally challenged they may be. But the call of cricket is such, that in a nation which reveres players as gods, watching these sons of lesser gods is a true testimony to the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.

raring to go: A group of players who are set to participate in the three-day Corporate  Unified Premier League games, which will begin on Wednesday in Mysore. dh photo

Saluting their singular pursuit to excel in the sport and show they are no less than their blessed brethren, Mysore will play host to a unique cricket tournament which will see an amalgamated teams of abled and physically challenged contenders.

The players will vie for the coveted honours at the three-day Corporate Unified Premier League (CUPL), which is set to begin on Wednesday,

The teams, comprising five players who are either mentally retarded or autistic, aged between 18 and 28, in the company of normal players, will play in the league for the CUPL Cup. 

According to organisers, the idea behind the tournament materialised when members of Mysore District Parents Association for Empowering Developmentally Disabled attended a special staff meeting conducted by National Institute of Mentally Handicapped at Secunderabad.

CUPL honorary secretary Anuradha Nandakumar observed, “Instead of the routine cultural programmes, we thought of hosting a cricket tournament for our children who are mentally challenged. The idea was conceived as early as April.”

Stating that initially the response was not that encouraging with organisations in other states promising to send teams for participation, she said, the Sports and Cultural Academy for the Differently Abled, Karnataka and Rotary Mysore Mid-Town, along with Mysore District Parents Association for Empowering Developmentally Disabled took it upon themselves to organise the fixture.

According to Anuradha, parents of the mentally challenged are much excited with a sense of anticipation and awe as they watch their wards practise zealously.

A goods auto driver, Gordon Gaye, brings the special boys working at Engineering Plastics daily for practice. In addition, there are three other autorickshaw drivers who also bring their special children for practise, she added.

The inclusive atmosphere is so important for these special boys that psychiatrists treating them are amazed to find that their behaviour is stabilising as they are becoming more extrovert, active and reactive. Such is the progress that Anuradha hopes that more corporates will take interest in similar activities.

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