“In 2016, India capped off a successful Paralympic Games campaign in Rio de Janeiro by procuring their best haul of four medals, including two golds and a silver and bronze medal apiece.”
Most Indians don’t know that. We also don’t know that there are about 40-80 million people living in India with a disability. In fact, our society devalues these people, and refuses to accept them as capable and worthy beings of our community. As for sportspersons with disabilities, their achievements are rarely accredited.
We all love stories of sport, of relentless comebacks and heart wrenching defeats. They are exciting and engaging. They unite the country and create our community.
Then why don’t we celebrate para-athletes?
Their performances are thrilling, their triumphs are significant. Every pursuit has its challenges, and these athletes have embraced their challenges and defeated insurmountable odds to reach where they are today. They’ve won medals, they’ve scaled mountains. And they’ve done it with integrity, passion, and the sheer will to win.
After all Bobby Jones said it best, “competitive sports are played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch court, the space between your ears.”
The stories of these athletes are inspiring and hopeful, but unfortunately largely unheard of. It’s shocking that most Indians didn’t even know of our Paralympic success in Rio 2016 or the recent T20 victory of our ‘Blind Cricket Team’. We’ve all heard of Sachin Tendulkar, P.V Sindhu, Baichung Bhutia, and Mary Kom but what about Devendra Jhajharia, Deepa Malik, Suyash Jhadav and M. Thangavelu. The voices of these athletes need to be heard, and their accomplishments and passions acknowledged. But more than anything, we, as citizens of India, need to take a keener interest into the lives and occupations of these athletes who are making our nation proud, and inspiring us all along the way. They need our support and we need to care.
Keeping that in mind, our organisation The nations pride aims to create a platform to generate interest and awareness towards Para-sports, and these differently abled athletes. We hope to incorporate para-sports into the fabric of the sports culture of our society and to give these budding athletes an opportunity to voice their opinions and to narrate their stores of triumph and adversity. In turn, we are certain that the content generated on our website will help remove the taboos in society against disability and motivate several others to join this movement.
This is a platform to connect people to the sensational world of para-sports.