The Jammu and Kashmir Handicapped Association recently organised a two-day cricket tournament for visually impaired players at the Delhi Public School grounds in Athwajan.

Four teams participated—Kashmir Yellow, Kashmir Green, Kashmir Red and Kashmir Blue—consisting of players from various parts of the Valley.

The organisers told The Citizen that the tournament was the first of its kind to be held in Kashmir. “Although it is the first of its nature, the tournament is hosting four teams from across Kashmir” said Abrar Ahmad Bhat, the principal organiser who is himself visually impaired.

Bhat said the organisers received no substantial support from the state government, apart from a hostel facility provided for visiting players.

Aakash Dhar, who participated, said the fact that such a tournament was conducted for the first time in Kashmir makes him happy.

“The players have reached here from all places in Kashmir and that is something which makes us happy. They didn’t even know that they can play cricket,” said Dhar.

He appeals to the government to take to the state and organise such tournaments regularly.

Another player, Yasir Ahmad Khan, while saying that he too was happy emphasised that the government should provide players with some help so they can excel in the game.

“It is a good initiative, the government should also do something in this direction. But it is not even taking care of existing normal games, what can we expect them to do for us?” said Adil Mir, another player and a resident of Soura Srinagar.

The players said that the tournament almost felt like an international tournament to them, and if the government were to take any concrete initiative towards conducting such a tournament, it would help them a great deal.

“Such persons usually get engulfed by depression and other mental health issues. The virtue of such initiatives is that we are made to move out, and that helps us physically and mentally as well,” said Khan.