How Bengaluru-Based Divyaang Myithri Academy Aims To Revolutionise Para Sports In The Country

Image Credits: From The Source 

How Bengaluru-Based Divyaang Myithri Academy Aims To Revolutionise Para Sports In The Country

Founded in 2016, the Bengaluru-based sports academy is paving the way towards making popular sports like Cricket, Basketball, Handball, Kabaddi, etc, accessible and nurturing athletes to represent India at the Paralympics.

  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo

Sports has been a way of life for many people. It has been an activity that kept people occupied in their free time. In fact, some even grew to love it so much that they were able to make it their career as well.

However, this remains a dream for some. The lack of accessibility in several sports in India is a major issue that is yet to be rectified. Over the years, efforts have been made in order to make this more inclusive for the specially-abled community to take part in. An inspiring example of this is a sports academy in Bengaluru that aims to take Para-Sports to another level.

About Wheelchair Sports

Known as 'Divyaang Myithri Sports Academy', it started five years back in 2016. The non-profit organisation aims to bridge the gap between popular sports and the specially-abled community by making the former more accessible. Their motto is 'We Believe. We Make. We Achieve' and they believe strongly in the same.

For a long time now, the academy's focus has been on raising awareness about 'Wheelchair Sports'. "Our priority or primary focus is to promote wheelchair sports in India, ideally a team sport," the founder Shiva Prasad told The Logical Indian. He is the vice-captain of India's Wheelchair Cricket Team that has gone on to bring laurels for the country.

Making Para-Sports Easier For Players

When it comes to this, a special kind of wheelchair is used to make it easier for people. Prasad goes on to explain, "We have a multi-sports wheelchair. It has tilted wheels that enable us to perform better in the game and provide speed. It has protective rims around it as well that makes sure no player gets injured."


Playing Cricket On Wheelchair

Just like everywhere else, cricket is extremely popular here as well. In 2020, the organisation held its first-ever wheelchair cricket test match that was officiated by an ICC umpire. More than 30 players from Karnataka took part in this, making the two days memorable and historic.

Apart from cricket, the academy also specialises in promoting Wheelchair Basketball, Handball, Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis and also Wheelchair Kabaddi. This version of the popular game has different rules to ensure safety. "Being a physical sport, people with disabilities are advised to sit on the ground and crawl while playing Kabaddi. This is dangerous, especially for those suffering from polio who have weak bones and muscles. In wheelchair kabaddi, there is much more freedom in terms of movement. It does not get physical at all as the person ensures that the other does not touch the line by blocking the wheelchair."

Accessibility And Financial Woes

While the organisation is doing its bit to make sports more inclusive, the structural accessibility is still a problem. Prasad points out the lack of such arrangements in basic infrastructures such as bus stands, railway stations, etc. "There is no significant work at all when it comes to accessibility. We are lacking the same in basic infrastructure so I cannot even imagine how will sports become accessible to everyone," he says. All of this is there in paper, but it is the execution that is the need of the hour. Also, he adds that there are some sports grounds that are on their way to become accessible for all communities, but there needs to be more.

At the moment, the organisation is also facing financial issues. Their current coaches are hired on a pro-bono basis as they do not have enough money to get someone for a full-time role. Prasad adds, "The last two years have been very bad because of COVID-19 and we've been struggling to raise funds which have stopped our operations. Huge funding is required here. If we have to train 10 athletes, you need to have coaches for different sports who can come and train in the respective fields.

Despite the hurdles, Divyaang Myithri is soldiering on with gusto. Inspired by the recent success at the Tokyo Paralympics, the academy is also focussing on nurturing players in individual sports. Their long-term objective is to get at least five athletes from the academy to represent India at the next Paralympics. Their efforts in this regard will never go unnoticed as they are doing their bit to make sports more inclusive and accessible.

Also Read: Step Towards Inclusivity! This Chennai-Based Cafe Offers Jobs To Inmates Of Institute Of Mental Health


Contributors Suggest Correction
Editor : Ankita Singh
,
Creatives : Akanksha Saxena

Must Reads