Parasports November 23, 2019
National-level para sportsperson Anthony John seeks help for better quality wheelchair
A bike accident left Anthony John paralysed from the waist down in 2011. A sports enthusiast, he did not let this get him down and took up wheelchair throwball and basketball, winning many accolades. Anthony, who is the family breadwinner, is seeking financial help to get a superior quality Ottobock wheelchair so he can pursue his sporting dreams and support his family better.
In 2011, Anthony John was a college student pursuing a course in mechanical designing with his future all mapped out. Then a bike accident changed everything. Anthony was riding pillion when an autorickshaw hit his friend’s bike and threw him off. He sustained severe injuries to the spine and was left paralysed from the waist down. Doctors said he would never walk again.
Anthony was leading an active life, pursuing sports and academics in full earnest. He was an active footballer, having represented his school and college. ”I underwent many types of treatment in the hope that I would walk one day but got no positive response, which left me very depressed”, recalls Anthony, who was just 20 years old at the time.
It was his years as an active sportsperson that finally lifted him out of this state. While undergoing rehabilitation at the Paraplegic Foundation in Sion, Mumbai, someone suggested that Anthony pursue throwball. “In 2013 I played a national throwball tournament where we won the final which boosted my passion against sports, and a year later, in 2014 I started working as a customer service executive in an MNC”, says Anthony.
The success encouraged Anthony to look at playing other sports. In 2017, a friend introduced him to wheelchair basketball and a year later he got a chance to take part in the 5th National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Coimbatore. “We didn’t win the game but made history by playing a match that went on for almost an hour while the total time for a basketball match is typically 40 minutes”, recalls Anthony. He was awarded the award of “Emerging Young Player of the Tournament’. He has played for the states of Goa and Gujarat.
Anthony has also led Maharashtra wheelchair cricket team, winning the award for ‘Best Batsmen” in the tri-series held in Mumbai between Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Anthony has started a fund raising campaign so he can get a better quality wheelchair to move around in.
My mobility is restricted due to non-availability of a good wheelchair. I cannot afford to buy a good wheel chair like Ottobock. This would help me in continuing my basketball and cricket practice as, I am aiming to be one of the top players in the Indian contingent, for various international events. A light wheelchair can help me in my daily routine. I can fold it and carry it by myself. – Anthony John, Wheelchair basketball & cricketer
With a better-quality wheelchair, Anthony is sure he can give his 100% on the field. His fellow player on the Maharashtra women’s wheelchair basketball team Jaya Vasant agrees. “This is so important for people like us. A better-quality wheelchair would give him his legs back. As a breadwinner of the family, this will make a big difference to Anthony”.
If you would like to support Anthony’s fundraising campaign, click here.
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