One of the initiatives that’s currently taking India by storm is the Wheelchair Tennis!
India first heard about this from Mr. Boniface Prabhu around 2009. A decade and there was not much action in this arena till a Bengaluru based NGO Astha took interest in developing this sports in 2016.
Astha stands for “Respecting Abilities and Celebrating Uniqueness” and aspires to ignite the dreams of the differently abled and the world about what is newly possible. Astha’s philosophy says that before a constraint shows up in the world it shows up in the mind and exists in agreements that are formed. The fundamental barrier for people is, this agreement, that there are only a limited set of possibilities for differently abled people.
Astha recognised the immense opportunity of using sports as a medium in a nation like India, Sports can be a brilliant medium to reach out to many with the intent to create a world where differently abled people are equal contributors to the growth of our nation.
But the task was not easy.. It took almost 1 year for them from forming to seeing the fruit of their toil in the form of India’s First AITA Ranked Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in Dec 2016.
Then there was no stopping them. In 2017 two more taking such tournaments were organised which saw much success. To enhance the interest, they also organised training workshops in Nov 2017 for 14 participants who learned much more about playing this sport professionally. The success of this lead to further 3 months follow up training programs to strengthen their knowledge of the sport.
In 2018 they are drawing their plans to conduct 3 tournaments with a recorded highest cash prize win in the history of any para-sport in India. Not just that, 2018 has also seen this sports being introduced to kids in India. Such is the reach of this program that World’s No 2 (Girls Category) Ranked Tennis Player, Ms. Nalani Buob from Switzerland will be coming to India to conducts a 3 days workshop for coaches on wheelchair tennis, who will then be deploying a 3 months coaching camp for the kids.
If you wish to reach more about the latest on the work of IWTT, do visit their FaceBook page @ www.facebook.com/iwtt.in or through their twitter handle : @indian_wt_tour.
Sunil Jain is the Founder Trustee and Chief Enabler. You can reach out to him at 9845063334 or [email protected], to hear the story from the horses mouth.
By Asha Nair – The Kairos Project, India