As the first rays of the morning sun shone on October 18, hardly any people were seen on the roads of Tongi-Dhaka Highway. However, Mohammad Mohasin, had already kicked off his journey by driving his specially built three-wheeled motor-vehicle towards Savar.
As the founder of Wheelchair Cricket Welfare Association, he has a bag full of responsibilities on his shoulders: leading all the players from Savar to the National Handball Stadium in Motijheel and also leading Dhaka Giants as the captain.
The day-long Purnava First national Wheelchair Cricket Tournament, with the spellbinding performance of 32 Wheelchair Cricketers, sponsored by Purnava, Renata has proved that physically limited people can and do endevours.
Thinking of physically disabled human beings as incapable is an age-old perception in our societies. Mohammad Mohasin, together with a number of physically limited youths, are trying to challenge this perception.
“We consider ourselves as complete and competent to do anything. This tournament is just the beginning of our journey,” said Mohammad Mohasin.
Elaborating on his thoughts, Mohammad Mohasin said, “I'm left with no word. The success of the event has given each of us endless happiness and courage to move forward.”
After the six fixture matches at the group stage among four teams – Dhaka Giants, Rajshahi Warriors, Chitaagong Riders and Khulna Cyclones – the trophy was finally won by Khulna Cyclones. Imago, sports management agency also worked tirelessly in making this event successful.
The tournament worked as a platform for Wheelchair Cricketer community where the member met face-to-face for the first time in Bangladesh.
A massive social responsibility was the main driving force behind their taking up the initiative, Mohasin said. “Conventional accessibility system at various levels in our country lack appropriate facilities. Often a lot of talented people have to abandon their dreams. Making every place and everything accessible to the physically disabled is our wish.”
Ranging from ages between 18 to 30, most of the participant players, a majority of whom are students pursuing their education in different universities and a few job-holders, were self-trained. Mohasin has always been there for guidance and communicated constantly via social media.
“Without being coached under any regular instructor, the entire community under Wheelchair Cricket Welfare Association of Bangladesh depended vastly on the available cricket training content on the internet and guidelines by me through Facebook,” Mohasin said.
While sharing this, Mohasin expressed his deepest gratitude to Harunur Rashid, a coach and front-line cricket organiser for physically challenged people in India, who has been inspiring and supporting him.
Mohasin had absolute faith on the competency of the participants. His journey was not smooth, however. “Insufficient time and the inevitable problems of organising this tournament for the first time was challenging. We could not arrange specially built wheelchairs for cricket,” he said.
Players faced problems too. Falling from the wheelchair was a problem. Many participants not having their own wheelchair was also a problem. “But, beyond all these hurdles, these young souls pulled through wonderfully. They mesmerised everyone with their charisma on the playground,” Mohasin said.
From 2010 till now, Mohammad Mohasin has navigated a long way – from building a cricketer community of physically disabled people to the winning Tajmahal Trophy. Among many goals the impending goal of this initiative was forming a team of outstanding cricketers to represent Bangladesh in the Wheelchair Cricket Asia Cup 2017. Since those with cerebral palsy are more vulnerable to injuries, players with polio affected handicap will be preferred for the upcoming Asia Cup.
After completing the team selection process there is plans to provide proper training. However, that still depends on a lot of variables. “For grooming these people we need a field for practice, providing basic needs such as staying places and food as they will be coming from different parts of the country. Even though we are in the planning stage, we have considered a few potential places that have wheelchair facilities. Jahangirnagar University or Dhaka University will be preferable. Even Shahid Ahsan Ullah Master Stadium can be the place,” Mohasin said.
Mohasin is immensely pleased because of the assurance by sports management agency Imago, who promised to provide support.