Wheelchair Cricket India (WCI) is the brainchild of Para-athlete and national awardee Pradeep Raj and was founded in 2011. He was much intrigued and motivated when he visited Korea and chanced upon interacting with the wheelchair cricket delegation from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
It was not an easy task to get the ball rolling. In a country like India when people were unaware of Para Olympics and the athletes who participated, Wheelchair cricket too met with the same fate of being ignored and no financial aid till now has been extended to these athletes or towards promotion of this sport. However, Sachin Tendulkar had words of encouragement for the team. For person like Squadron Leader Abhai Pratap Singh who once flew a MIG-27 to become wheelchair bound due to a paralyzing road accident was catastrophic. The opportunity to connect and explore the world once again came in the form of Wheelchair cricket. Despite getting no support these athletes have prove their mettle by their relentless effort which has reflected in the establishment of the Asian Wheelchair Cricket Council (AWCC) which has delegations from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afganistan. The National Wheel Chair team has 14 players from different states of India, while the association has 16 state teams under it. At a first ever Asian Wheelchair Cricket Council meet that took place in Brahmanbaria in Bangladesh on the 4th of November 2017, it was unanimously decided that India would be the host of the first Wheelchair Cricket Asia Cup in October 2018.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena