While riding his cycle, Hussein’s toe nail got jammed into the paddle and he had to be rushed to the primary health centre. It was raining heavily at that time, but his brother, Ahmed lost no time in taking him there. As soon as he got bandaged, he wanted to reach on time for the tournament. It was 29 May and he was cycling to reach his school, Sanjay Centre for Special Education, Goa, for the ESPN Virtual Cricket competition. Hussein tried to do his best that day. He got another day to complete the skills, although the wound had not healed completely even by then.
According to Ahmed, his younger brother, Hussein, 17 yrs is a sports person by passion. He plays Cricket, Football and runs. A lack of training, also accentuated by the pandemic, has thrown a challenge his way. He never misses tournaments that take place closer to his house. It is in 2020 that he joined the Sanjay Centre which opened doors to sports. Soon after, the pandemic took over and he stayed home. He was, placed under the Coaching of Ms Samantha D costa, a physical education teacher at the Sanjay Centre and associated with Special Olympics Bharat- Goa since 2011. She trained him to participate in the early 2020 in a Unified Badminton event as well. His determination and commitment to participate got him in this event and has fixed a spot for him in an upcoming Football event as well.
Ahmed misses escorting him to the sporting events, as he has to attend to work. Being the only earning member in his family of three now, after the demise of his father 4 years back, Ahmed is left with no option other than prioritising work.
Already facing financial problems, Hussein’s inability to learn and retain causes an additional strain on the family. Although his social behaviour has always been pleasing, several attempts have failed to have Hussein assist Ahmed at work. “ He follows instructions obediently; but does only what is told. But, Sports showcases his abilities and I am interested that he pursues it. His interest lies in it as well. I have no time to train him. If he is given a chance in sports, I am sure he will shine” – says Ahmed.
While all the Athletes practised in their homes, 5 Coaches divided them in batches of two, and called them to play in common locations on the day of the competition. They were asked to report earlier than the time of the event to practice and get familiar with the ‘field’ and the environment. All the schools, willingly consented to allow the Athletes use their resources to perform.
Says Samantha- “The lockdown added to the challenge of familiarizing with a new version of the sport. It was not the best option to have the family members do the marking, set the camera etc. We are glad that we were able to arrange with our respective schools. We certainly wait for the in-person events to begin. But until then virtual sports is helping in keeping the Athletes occupied, fit and ready for sports while also helping us discover new talent”