Wheelchair basketball has given these men the will to chase their dreams
September 21, 2018
For Oliver D'Souza the attraction in wheelchair basketball lay in the fact that it was so different from the way in which regular basketball is played.
"Wheelchair basketball is similar to the basketball that Michael Jordan played, but here the players off the field are as important, if not more, than the player with the ball. Also, they have to master the sports wheelchairs they are sitting on and as someone who has been using it since 2005, I can tell you it is no easy task. It takes a lot of practice, skill and strength."
All of which he will get plenty of opportunity to display at the 5th National Wheelchair Basketball Championship, currently on in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Over 20 teams from across India have gathered at the SDATN Basketball Stadium.
This is Oliver's first national event and he is playing for Goa. There is excitement evident in his voice when he talks about the planning involved in traveling with two types of wheelchairs - one for regular use and the other on the court.
He has come a long way from the feeling of hopelessness that had enveloped his life for four years after he was left disabled in a fall in 2005.
A promising football player, Oliver became a paraplegic after he fell through the roof while retrieving a ball.
It was while he was undergoing rehabilitation at the Paraplegic Foundation</.strong> in Mumbai that Oliver was introduced to wheelchair basketball thanks to the NGO Nina Foundation, that supports spinal cord injury victims.
He got together with some other enthusiasts, including Mohammed Imran, who is paralyzed from the waist down due to multiple sclerosis.
Like Oliver, Imran is also representing Goa at the national championships and is eager to prove himself on the court.
"I am very happy to have got such a wonderful opportunity", he says. "So far we played for ourselves. Now we can prove to others that we can fight too. The best part is that in wheelchair basketball, we get to use our entire body while playing the game. All that energy we have within us has an outlet".
Along with Oliver and Imran, two other members of Nina Foundation have been selected for the nationals, Sudhanshu Patel and Mohammed Hadis. A remarkable achievement, one that Dr Ketna Mehta, Founder, Nina Foundation, says was enabled thanks to "kind donors who gave 10 basketball wheelchairs and the University of Mumbai for permission to use their indoor basketball court".
The story of these men is an example of the transformative power of sports, and a remarkable tribute to their perseverance and determination.
Watch in Sign Language
Read more on Newz Hook
- Parasports June 20, 2019 Sonakshi Sinha likely to play the part of Paralympian Deepa Malik
- Events June 26, 2019 Coaching Classes for Visually Impaired Students
- Headlines June 21, 2019 Finance Minister to present budget on 5 July
- Events June 27, 2019 Thalassemia Detection Camp
- Headlines June 21, 2019 Imran Khan trolled after he quotes Tagore as Gibran
- Get-hooked June 25, 2019 Snehankit Helpline for visually impaired students is helping them shine in academics
- Accessibility June 26, 2019 Introduction of a wheelchair ramp might not be just what disability rights groups in Chennai asked for
- Headlines June 26, 2019 Mamata Banerjee says ‘Super Emergency’ in India since Modi rule
- Headlines June 25, 2019 RBI Deputy Governor resigns
- Education June 20, 2019 #ChangeMakers - An idol to many, Elizabeth Philip keeps inspiring through her relentless work
Want to feature your inspiring story or share an event with the disabled community? Write to:
Newz Hook - Accessible News