Gurugram, December 05, 2022: The 3rd T20 World Cup for the Blind, was officially inaugurated here at the Tau Devi Lal stadium, in the presence of Shri. Sandeep Singh, Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs, Govt. of Haryana, Dr. Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar, President of the Cricket Association of the Blind in India (CABI), former Indian world-cup winning cricketer Yuvraj Singh, also the brand ambassador for the event, Shri Raymond Moxley, Secretary General, World Blind Cricket Ltd. (WBC) and Swami Nirbhayanda Saraswati, President, Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashrama, Gadag & Bijapur, Karnataka among others. A heartwarming invocation song and a musical medley was performed by Sunadha, the cultural wing of Samarthanam, which consists of visually impaired and speech and hearing-impaired artistes. Also present amongst all the dignitaries was a special guest in Indian Actress from the Kannada film industry Ms. Harshika Poonacha.
Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, has been championing the cause of Cricket for the Blind, since 2010- 2011. Seven countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka and hosts and two-time defending champions India will feature in the 11-day 24-match schedule that has been drawn up. Besides Delhi/NCR, India matches will be played in cities like Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Kochi in Kerala, Cuttack in Odisha and Panjim in Goa before the final matches including the two semi-finals and the grand finale takes place in Bengaluru.
While the Ajay Reddy captained India take on Nepal in the first game at Faridabad’s Sledge Hammer ground on Tuesday, December 06, 2022, the big India-Pakistan clash is slated to take place a day later at the DDA Siri Fort Sports Complex in the national capital subject to their visa process.
Speaking on the occasion Shri. Sandeep Singh, Hon. Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs, Govt. of Haryana, said, “It gives me great pleasure to be here today on the occasion of the inauguration of the 3rd T20 World Cup for the Blind. We welcome all the international teams and promise to make their stay in India a pleasant experience. We as a state are committed to support both abled and specially abled sports persons and we are in the process of developing a stadium specifically for the specially abled in Gurugram and Faridabad. I look forward to be present for the first game between India and Nepal at Faridabad tomorrow and also extend all support needed for the Cricket Association for Blind in India.”
In his speech, former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh said, “When CABI first approached me, the first thought that came to my mind was that even when I was half-awake during my active playing days, I would not dare to face a ball, then how do these cricketers do it. They are real-life heroes. I feel blessed and honored to be amongst them and as brand ambassador I call upon more and more corporates, the government, the public and the media to come forward and support these passionate cricketers. On my part, I pledge to do whatever is in my power to support Cricket for the Blind. I wish all the participating teams, the very best of luck.”
Welcoming all the dignitaries, Dr. Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar, President, CABI, said, “During the years of the pandemic we used to get the feeling that darkness has doubled down on us. But here we are at last, back to doing what we do best and that is to play Cricket. On behalf of CABI I extend my sincere gratitude towards the Honorable Ministers who have encouraged and supported us. Also, to the vibrant Yuvraj Singh who has shown us that his heart is even bigger than the sixes he hit, and to all the members of the visiting teams. We all at CABI are very excited as we lead up to the first match and we call upon all, including the national media to support our extremely talented Blind cricketers wholeheartedly.”
World Blind Cricket Council established in 1996 is an administration of blind cricket to manage it at an international level. It promotes and controls Blind Cricket globally. The World cup, is an initiative of Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) in association with Samarthanam Trust for the disabled, who have been organizing this championship since 2012. Samarthanam perceives Sports as a medium to improve inclusion and encourage persons with disabilities on various fronts. Since its inception, the trust has reached out to more than 30, 000 visually impaired crickets.
The 3rd T20 World Cup Cricket Tournament for the Blind from December 6th to December 17th 2022, is also being organized to mark the World Disability Day celebrations universally. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
About Cricket for the Blind:
Thousands of blind cricketers in India are waiting for an opportunity to explore their passion for Cricket and prove their abilities to contest at the International level like any of their cricketing peers in the country. Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, through its sports body CABI, endeavors to provide them with this unique opportunity. Besides, sports, as is well known, open up employment vistas for persons with visual impairments, physically challenged and economically weaker.
About Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled:
Registered as a Trust in 1997, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled has been working towards creating education and livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities and from underserved communities. The larger vision of our organization is to work towards an inclusive society which provides equal opportunities for all. More details can be found at our official website www.samathanam.org