Since Sport is known for not distinguishing between people on the basis of class, creed, colour or physically ability, it therefore is a best tool to promote inclusion.
While historically limitations and exclusions were imposed on the participation of men and women with a disability in sport, namely due to the myth that sport, being representative of physical prowess, could not include those who had a physical impairment. The trend today is one of more progressive inclusion and acceptance, with opportunities for sports participation available within each of the broad categories of sport identified above.
With Corona Virus Pandemic posing challenges in holding the event with the same excitement and gusto as it was held in the previous year. In view of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 pandemic, SOPs were strictly enforced to ensure that both players and a small group of spectators do not fall prey to this deadly disease. Before the game got underway, the players were given a brief on the importance of being circumspect as far as exercising physical distance with fellow players during the course of the game is concerned. Although, the ongoing threat of the virus kept people away from the event; however, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the players who played hard for the win.
Hope Disability Centre in league with Valley Hunks and District Cricket Association Ganderbal organized a T10 inclusive cricket match funded by HCL Foundation at Shalbug in District Ganderbal on 11 September 2020. This is in keeping with the commitment of organization to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities in the mainstream. It is also about providing equal opportunities to persons with and without disabilites in order to ratify the fabric of social integration.
Two teams from twin districts of Baramulla and Kupwara, which have suffered a great deal on account of the conflict and where the number of physically impaired is maximum in Kashmir valley were the two competing sides. The teams were transported from their respective districts to the venue by HDC where crowds were waiting for them with much anticipation.
The rules were spelled out to the two competing sides just before the game was to start in order to maintain the spirit of the game. It reaffirmed the belief that any physical impairment cannot become a barrier in their way of enjoying sports. It is as much their right as that of any non-disabled person.
The game was played under a few rules and regulations specific to the different impairment groups. The composition of the teams was decided on a 70:30 ratio comprising persons with and without disability. So each team with 70:30 ratio walked into the ground of Shalbug to entertain the crowds.
Both the teams along with the dignitaries and media men present walked into the ground for inaugural ceremony and toss. The dignitaries after interacting with the captains of the teams emphasized on a society that do not discriminate on the basis of physical impairment.
Sami Wani, Executive Director, Hope Disability Centre in his brief address enlightened the people around about the need for rehabilitation of persons with disability and added that holding of a cricket match for them is one of its components and he we nt on to say that persons with disability are an integral part of society and deserve to be treated with honour and respect. He further said that contrary to general perception that persons with disability do wonders if given opportunity.
Baramulla Tigers won the toss and decided to bat first and in their allotted 10 overs they scored 69 runs. Kupwara while chasing the target got past the winning line in 7th over with Danish scoring a well-played 36 besides taking three wickets. Danish is a below knee amputee and yet the signs of his disability were barely visible. He played like a pro and contributed with both bat and ball. “Today I realized that we can play as well as persons without disability and I feel really good about it”, sa says Danish.
As soon as the match got over, Kupwara Lions broke in to celebrations followed by prize distribution ceremony.
With the winner decided, now was the time to felicitate the winning team and the players. People who were watching the game till the end cheered for the players during presentation.
Baramulla Tigers got the winning trophy while as Kupwara Lions ended runners up. Mementoes were given away to the players with and without disability for enthralling the crowds with an absorbing cricket match.
Before handing over the trophies, dignitaries were all praise for She Hope Society for Women Entrepreneurs for organizing the event. They particularly laid emphasis on ensuring social inclusion of persons with disability.