The anticipation for the upcoming International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games 2023, Birmingham is thriving with each passing day as blind cricket gears for its maiden appearance in the mega event. The 2023 IBSA World Games, organised by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), would witness over 1250 players and officials from 70 countries participating.
Powerlifting, judo, goalball, football, chess, tenpin bowling, shooting, showdown, archery, tennis and blind cricket will feature in the tournament. Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) announced the captains for the Indian Blind Cricket teams (both men and women) that will represent the country in the World Games 2023. CABI had also unveiled jerseys (for both men’s and women’s teams) ahead of their debut in IBSA World Games 2023 in Birmingham, as per a press release from CABI.
CABI Chairman Dr Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar, General Secretary of CABI Shailender Yadav, David Absalon, Honorary General Secretary, IBSA and Munawar, Joint Secretary, IBSA addressed the press conference. Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif also graced the event, strengthening the morale of the athletes.
CABI in association with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled has been working for blind cricket players representing India. IndusInd Bank has also been supporting cricket for the blind since 2016.
The Chairman of CABI Dr Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar said that “CABI is excited to be part of the IBSA World Games by sending both men’s & women’s Cricket Teams for the Blind. This is a much-needed opportunity to the cricketers to showcase their cricketing skills at highest level.”
The General Secretary of CABI, Shailender Yadav said that CABI is honoured to be part of the IBSA World Games. He thanked IBSA for including Cricket for the Blind in the World Games and this will be a new beginning to all the blind cricketers.
Speaking at the conference, Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif, said, “We as players are not able to play good cricket sometimes and these players are playing the sport and excelling in it despite being not able to see clearly. This is something we must applaud. I salute them and salute CABI and IBSA too. I am here to support them and I urge everyone to support them. Just wishing the Indian team all the best. My message for them is just go and enjoy the Games and I wish they win the tournament.”
Speaking at the conference, Radhika Bharat Ram, Chairperson, IBSA, said, “I feel privileged to be a part of IBSA. It has added multiple facets to my perspective on life and reinforces every day — that our focus needs to be on honing the extraordinary abilities and talents these youngsters have, rather than their physical challenges. It’s our longstanding partners like Usha International who have made this journey possible for IBSA. I wish our athletes all the very best for the 2023 IBSA World Games, confident that they will do India proud.”
Komal Mehra, Head – Sports Initiatives and Associations, Usha International, said, “Partnering with IBSA has been among the most fulfilling collaborations for us. Inclusivity and diversity is part of Usha’s ethos as is our vision ‘Play’ that encourages an active and healthy lifestyle. And it is the zeal and determination of the athletes and their remarkable sportsmanship and unwavering spirit that have brought them here. To me, each of them is an inspiration and a winner in life.”
Indian Blind Sports Association is the largest national-level sports body devoted to the promotion of sports among the visually challenged in the country. Along with CABI other sports federations which are part of the Indian Blind Sports Association would be participating in the World Games such as The Indian Blind and Para Judo Association, The Indian Blind Football Federation and IBSA.
David Absalon, Honorary General Secretary of, Indian Blind Sports Association, said, “We, at IBSA, are committed to creating platforms for the visually challenged and it is really heartening to see the calibre of these players who will be donning the national colours at such a major international meet. Every participant is excited, and looking forward to showcasing their talent on a global platform and here I would like to thank Usha for being a constant and trusted partner of IBSA for several years now. With every event Usha’s commitment to encouraging sports and promoting an active and healthy lifestyle is reiterated.”
(with inputs from ANI)