The Indian wheelchair cricket team recently won Bilateral series played between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka and won the tournament 2-0. However, the Wheelchair Cricket India Association (WCIA) is facing affiliation and identity crisis problems.
Idea of Wheelchair cricket
This idea was brought up by the Squadron leader Abhai Pratap Singh, who is also the present vice-captain of the Indian Wheelchair Cricket team, when he met with a road accident in 2009 and was compact in a hospital for 2 years. He wanted to connect with people who are like him. Abhay was 27 and had a difficult journey throughout, but now he adds feels that Wheelchair Cricket in India has a chance to explore the world again.
WCIA is the brainchild of Pardeep Raj, who is an international para-athlete and a president awardee. He founded this organisation in 2012 after returning from South Korea where he had met with Pakistan and Bangladesh wheelchair cricketers.
The basic objective of the forming this association is put Indian wheelchair folks into the mainstream, so, they do not feel isolated And in this small journey, they have succeeded to organise two international tournaments, one National Wheelchair Cricket Tournament held in Jan 2018, where more than 200 players took part And as of now, they are planning to organise the first International wheelchair world cup by the end of 2018.
“The WCIA has amalgamated 16 state teams and a pool of more than 250 players. The association will fight for the affiliation, aid and right of wheelchair cricketers until our voices being heard And we are fully prepared for it,” said Raj.
Wheelchair Cricket India Tournaments
Wheelchair Cricket India Association (WCIA) has been taking care of wheelchair cricket in India. The Bilateral series which took place between Bangladesh and India from May 4-8 which was held in Dhaka was won by India 2-0. This was the Indian wheelchair cricket team’s first victory outside India.
India against Bangladesh had a bilateral series last year in which was held in Delhi and India had lost the series by 3-0.
Sponsorship problems for Wheelchair Cricket in India
They are facing discrimination said Prakash Raj – The General Secretary of WCIA, as he had asked for support from many people and even former cricketers, but all went on deaf ears. The only Indian cricketer to support WCIA was Sachin Tendulkar who gave them a quick response as he donated Rs 4 Lakh to the Indian Wheelchair Cricket Team.
So far they have been taking support from small financers and private schools in Delhi and Gurugram.
Abhai Pratap Singh said that these are just finance related challenges, but they are facing many other issues as well.
Challenges for Wheelchair Cricket in India
The basic challenges Wheelchair Cricket team players face is lack of good wheelchairs, handicapped-friendly accommodations, ground for playing and practicing and most importantly, medical support.
They need well-equipped wheelchairs as a normal wheelchair costs around Rs 25,000. When they have to practice on a professional cricket ground, the staff doesn’t allow them, to play as they perceive that wheelchairs may affect their grounds. Plus, they also need 24/7 medical support said, Singh.
We as Indian sports fans feel proud that despite all odds these handicapped players continue to perform in such situation and win.