IIT Madras holds sports carnival for persons with disability

IIT-Madras held a sports carnival for persons with disability on Sunday, December 11. Titled ‘Sports 4 All’, the carnival was aimed at encouraging persons with disabilities to play a sport.

It was organised by the TTK Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) along with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Centre for Assistive Health Technology (NCAHT). According to The Hindu, the carnival was aimed at introducing devices that could assist persons with disabilities in the field.

Registered participants include a total of 214 Persons with Disabilities from across India including Maharashtra, Karnataka, and New Delhi, 255 caregivers / general public and 111 Volunteers / Students. In addition, disability rehabilitation professionals, innovators, and sportspersons also participated in the event.

Apart from the games, stalls were also set up for 12 sports with adaptive equipment, including wheelchair basketball, cricket, rifle shooting, wheelchair racing, wheelchair tennis, badminton, powerlifting and board games. Participants were encouraged to try them out.

Justin Jesudas, head operations at R2D2 told the media that the participants, their caregivers, and the general public were given 30 minutes to spend at each stall. He added that it was a “fun experience” for many of them as they were trying out these sports for the first time. Jesudas also said that they were hoping that this would encourage participants to take proactive steps in making sports more inclusive.

V Kamakoti, the Director of IIT Madras stated that inclusion is one of the agendas of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and added that devices to assist persons with disabilities will help them participate in sports which would further improve their physical and mental health.

Sujatha Srinivasan, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering said that it was crucial for governments, education entities, private and public sectors to find solutions for persons with disability.

Sharing his/her experience in participating in the event, Poornachandran G (Age: 32), from Ranipet, said, “As a wheelchair basketball player myself, I feel this is a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to other sports. Especially, wheelchair racing and rifle shooting that is otherwise very expensive and you never get an opportunity to try”

Nethravathi, (Age: 30), from Bangalore, said, “I am trying out sports for the first time after acquiring my disability. There are hardly any sports opportunities in the community for PwDs and I am glad to have come here. Thank you IIT Madras”

Ganesh Murugan, (Age: 36) from Korattur, said, “More of these events should happen. It brings a sense of togetherness and bonding and initiates inclusion conversations”

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