When hands that grapple swung the bat

When hands that grapple swung the bat

From punches to pulls

When hands that grapple swung the bat

When four-time World Wrestling Entertainment heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio entered the cricket pitch at the St Joseph’s College of Commerce on Saturday morning, it was not his iconic theme song that accompanied it.

Instead, it was an excited applause of the boys from Special Olympics Bharat team who were going to play a game of cricket with the wrestling superstar. The boys were from special schools in the city- Aruna Chetana, Bala Mano Vikasa Kendra and Gerizim Rehabilitation Trust.

They are with Special Olympics Bharat, the Indian branch of an international organisation which trains children with intellectual disabilities in sports like cricket, throwball and volleyball. The boys first demonstrated to Alberto the basics of the game after which they took turns to play with him.

Sagar was delighted that he got a chance to bowl to Alberto and even got his wicket. “He was not bad,” Sagar said. Alberto handed out signed pictures of himself to the children.

“Cricket is quite difficult. These children are amazing at it,” said Alberto, nicknamed ‘The Pride of Mexico’. Talking about his experience in India, he said, “I am loving it so far. Bengaluru is an amazing and exciting place.”

Vasanth Kumar Shetty, regional director of Special Olympics Bharat, said, “ A celebrity like Alberto playing with the children will make people notice Special Olympics and bring it to the mainstream.”

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