A sport specially for quadriplegics

A sport specially for quadriplegics

The rapid growth of the sport has also helped the Indians to field a squad in the ongoing games.

Started as a demonstration sport in the ’96 Atlanta Paralympics, wheelchair rugby grabbed the medal status four years later in Sydney.
However, this year the organisers decided to open the doors for wheelchair rugby as a demonstration sport in the IWAS Games.
“Indian wheelchair rugby team is taking part for the first time in international meet. It’s a huge breakthrough for the sport and also for our team. We formed a team only four months back and the boys are quickly learning the sport,” said Indian coach Rajiv Virat.  Wheelchair rugby players have disabilities that include loss of function in at least three limbs.

 “Medically we say the disability as quadriplegic. These athletes are with minimum hand function and mainly having injuries to their spinal chord,” said Sports Co-ordinator of the Indian squad, Anshul Sharma.

Indian team comprises of Nirmal Singh, Arun Bharadwaj, Ishant, Deepak Singh, Amit Saroha and Nurruddin while Riya is the lone female player in the 12-member squad. Most of them were confined to wheelchair after two-wheeler accidents, paralysing most part of their body. Rajasthan’s Nirmal Singh, who was a state hockey player, had broken his neck after a truck hit his bike from behind three years ago.
 “I could hardly move my fingers after the accident. But after playing rugby there is lot of improvement in my movements,” said the 24-year-old.

Tragedy hit the 19-year-old Arun Bharadwaj while at a vocational training for his pre-university course in Belgaum last year. “I had a fall from the steps and injured my spinal chord,” said Arun.

Except for the name it has little in common with rugby. The rules ensure no physical contact between players but contact between wheelchairs is allowed. The peculiarity of the sport is that it is a mixed gender sport.
“It’s good that Indians are learning the sport. They are slowly getting into the groove,” said Brazilian coach Brad during combined practice session for Indian and Brazilian teams at the Sree Kanteerava indoor stadium on Thursday.
Fernando Abud and Renan Prestes, broke the neck while diving in the swimming pool in Rio De Janeiro, and Brian Muniz, who was shot in the spinal chord, sums up the horrifying stories of the Brazilians.

“We were at a party and had drunk too much before going for diving. We didn’t realise the water was shallow and our heads hit the pool’s floor, breaking our necks,” said Abud and Prestes in unison.

* Wheelchair rugby is played indoors on the hardcourt equivalent to a basketball court.
* Each team comprises of four players each.
* Goal is scored when a player takes the ball beyond a line marked between two cone-shaped pylon.
* Players cant keep the ball for more than ten seconds.
The player should dribble or pass in ten seconds.

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