On Saturday, over 500 people with disability once again proved that they are no different from able-bodied sportsmen at the 15th State-level Annual Sports for Disabled organised by Tamil Nadu Differently Abled Federation Charitable Trust (TNDAFC) and Sri Bhagyalakshmi Travel Services.
The event conducted at the playground of TN Sports Development Authority saw persons with disabilities (PwD) from various districts across the state. It also showcased the daily struggle of PwD, especially wheelchair users who had trouble entering the playground. With no basic amenities like ramps, barrier-free toilets and parking lots, they had to struggle across the inaccessible ground.
Members of the TNDAFC said that not even a single playground in the State was disabled-friendly. “They cannot access toilets and parking area. Lack of ramps in the playground shows how the disabled are treated differently from others,” they rued.
“There are over 250 PwD who excelled in national and international Olympics and para-Olympics. But they don’t even have a space to do practice,” said TNDAFC president P Simmachandran, who inaugurated the sports meet.
There were different categories for PwD such as calipers and crutches, artificial leg, hearing impaired, visually impaired and partially blind. The events included 50 metres walking race, 100 metres wheelchair race and 200 metres running. Also team sports like wheelchair basketball and kabaddi were conducted at the state meet.
The events were held separately for men and women, girls and boys, and also by age groups from 8 to 14, 15 to 18 and above 18. The competitions differed based on the nature of disability. The annual sports meet is an initiative to improve co-ordination, balance ability, concentration of the PwD. Krishnan, CEO, Sri Bhagyalakshmi Travel Services, was also present. Prizes were given away to the winners.