Going the distance: from differently abled to sports achievers

Going the distance: from differently abled to sports achievers

Sagar (21) lost his legs in  a road accident a few years ago. He is now an opening batsman for the Karnataka wheelchair cricket team.

Until a few years ago, Sagar never imagined he would pick up the cricket bat again. His life took a turn for the better when he watched the state's first inter-state wheelchair cricket tournament organised by  the Bengaluru-based Divyaang Myithri Sports Academy.  

The academy was founded by  Shiva Prasad, who ranks fifth nationwide  in wheelchair tennis, along with his four para-athlete friends, to train the disabled in wheelchair cricket and wheelchair tennis.  The academy has helped  many differently abled in Karnataka realise their dreams of taking part in sports.  

The not-for-profit academy is the  first in the state to train differently-abled sportspersons, Prasad says. This year, it hosted the state's first inter-state wheelchair cricket tournament.  

Cricket players make millions while playing for the country but para-athletes get little help from the government in terms of sponsorship and training, Prasad said with a sadness on his face.  "A lot of para-athletes give up sports for lack of support from the government. It was one of the major reasons that led us to start this organisation," he added.  

In the coming days, the  academy will provide beginner, intermediate and advanced training in wheelchair basketball, cycling and para-badminton.  

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