He has represented Madhya Pradesh in the national hockey championships — the first hearing and speech impaired player to do so — and his skill with the stick have won him many awards. However, 26-year-old Abdul Samad has been running from pillar to post to land a job, despite many assurances from the state and sports fraternity for the same.
The goalkeeper has represented MP in six senior men hockey national championships and four junior national championships. He approached the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, Switzerland to participate in the World Deaf Hockey Championship. The international committee referred his matter to the All India Sports Council of the Deaf (AISCD) — the Indian body does not have hockey as a discipline.
However, AISCD general secretary M Walter Fernandez took up his case and wrote on his behalf to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
“He has won many trophies and awards. He is disappointed that his application for employment has been turned down by the Railway Board, MP due to his impairment… We request you to assist him to get good job in your state,” Fernandez, in his letter to the CM, said.
Samad’s brother Abdul Subur feels that by denying him employment, society has rejected him. “My brother chose to play in the regular hockey team as he didn’t want any sympathy. But society forced him to realise that he was born with disabilities by rejecting him and by overlooking his strength and skill,” he said.
“During an Obaidullah Gold Cup match, the chief minister had assured Samad of providing help but nothing has happened. Now, we are hoping that this letter will help him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Samad himself seems cautiously optimistic. Talking to HT in sign language, he said, “I am happy that AISCD has taken up my case. I have earned a good name in hockey. I also joined an ITI so that I could earn livelihood. But nobody is willing to provide me with a job.”