Eighteen-year-old Faraz Khan is different. He can’t run because of a disability.
There is something else that makes him special. That is his heart, which holds national pride dear.
The Indian hockey team’s failure to win an Olympic berth for the first time in 80 years was a blow to hockey lovers. For Faraz, it evoked different emotions.
The Class 10 student from Lucknow was so hurt by India’s fall that he decided to take up the game despite his physical condition. Then, in only 10-12 days, his spirit rubbed onto 30 other disabled children who have shown the keenness to play the game.
To help the cause, Mobility India, an organisation working for the promotion of sports amongst the handicapped, has extended its support.
Olympian Syed Ali is chipping in with his expertise to the children (with more than 40 per cent disability). The camp under him has already begun at the CB Gupta ground here.
“I have seen some of them, and they have shown the enthusiasm to adopt the technicalities of the game,” said Ali. “What’s wrong in initiating hockey for different kind of players when people (with no disability) are doing nothing in the game?”
“It’s a difficult task, but I love challenges. I am sure if these boys do well in the training we will have an Indian hockey team of disabled players soon.”
Dr AW Siddiqui, secretary general of Mobility India, looks a resolute man. “We are an affiliated body of the National Paralympic Committee of India, and if everything goes according to our plan, we would be able to field an Indian hockey team for the next World Paralympic Games in 2012. I am in regular touch with the World Paralympic Committee.”
Siddiqui, who is also a physiotherapist and worked with the Indian hockey team during the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup in 1995, has organised quite a few notable sports events. He hopes to conduct a national level hockey tournament for the disabled.
“We have conducted national level events in athletics, swimming, badminton, table tennis, kabaddi and cricket. So conducting a hockey event for the disabled shouldn’t be a big problem.”