THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cycling had always been a craze for Muhammed Ahad, a differently abled student from the city who has been a regular in state-level and national-level cycling events for the past few years. Being the only deaf and mute student training at the velodrome in Lakshmibai National College for Physical Education for the past six years, the audibly challenged student currently doing his BA history in Government College, Attingal never let his handicap come in the way of his love for cycling.
Usha T Nair, his coach at LNCPE, says that she has not noticed any other deaf and mute participant in events, probably making him the only such contestant.
Having enjoyed cycling from a very young age, Ahad soon started taking it to the road, where he would ride it at breakneck speeds to his school. And it was during one of these rides that one of his teachers who saw him asked his parents to put him for competitive cycling events. Since then there has been no looking back.
Finishing at third place in the very first national-level event which he attended at Jammu and Kashmir, he had been pursuing each and every cycling championship as a means to aim higher. His repertoire in cycling include the third place in the State Road Cycling Championships 2012-13, second place in the 2010-11 state-level championship, 3rd place in the 2013-14 championships, third place in the state mountain biking event 2015 and second place in the 2013-14 National MTB cycling championship (mountain). The young lad recently participated in the 2016 MTB Kerala cycling event.
Shaila Beevi, his mother, says the lad is so much of a cycling enthusiast that at times he would not even bother to sleep or eat. Ahad, who is 95 per cent hearing impaired, couldn’t communicate initially, after which his parents started taking him for speech therapy sessions. Says his coach Usha, “One major quality in him is his ability to work hard. Even if he is expected to go to far off places for practising or an event, he has no qualms.”
Among his most treasured possessions at home are two cycles specially designed for road cycling and mountain biking events respectively. When asked which cycle he was most comfortable with, he points to the road bicycle placed in the living room of his house. Despite being insisted on giving a letter of undertaking allowing Ahad to participate in any upcoming cycling event, the youngster is not disappointed. Rather, he is looking at proving his mettle. Conversing through signs, Ahad winds up, “I am confident that I can do more.”
He now plans to take part in another set of state-level road, track and mountain bike events during August-September.