For Indian left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, it was a ‘touching experience’ when he stepped onto the synthetic tennis courts at LB Stadium here on Wednesday and interacted with the wheelchair tennis players taking part in the second edition of the Charminar Open championship.
Ojha was clearly overawed by the “amazing spirit and attitude of these specially challenged athletes”.
“You all are a great inspiration for us. It shows how sports transgresses all sorts of barriers and motivates one to dream big and chase the goals too,” he said after formally inaugurating the championship.
“Honestly, I am thrilled to see this kind of spirit by these players despite facing all odds. They send a terrific message of a great battle over adversity even while showing no signs of any discomfort or inhibitions despite being specially challenged,” Ojha said.
READ| Pragyan Ojha: ‘I was fortunate to be always a captain’s bowler’
And, the efforts of Sunil Jain, chairman and founder of Indian Wheelchair Tennis Tour (IWTT) which is a division of NGO Astha started three years ago, are surely going to take the sport to a different level with the ITF conducting an activity camp in Bengaluru in coordination with AITA this December.
“Definitely, it has been a struggle when we started off as funds were raised from donations from the like-minded and friends. But, it is time we need to raise a corpus fund which should take care of these kind of activities and we are grateful to the AITA for always supporting our cause and here to the SATS for giving us this facility and to L& T our sponsors,” he told ‘The Hindu’.
For the record, about 40 players including three from Telangana will showcase their skills in the championship featuring singles and doubles for men and women for the next four days.
“Yes, it will be great to see an Indian figure in the Grand Slam as all the four Majors have this segment integrated into their schedule,” says Sunil Jain.
With some of the big names in Indian sport including Hyderabad’s very own six-time Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza, cricketers Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev, tennis stars Rohan Bopanna, Anand Amritraj, Zeeshan Ali, hockey player Jude Felix supporting the IWTT which also has Somdev Devvarman as the Board Member, there is lot of optimism in taking the sport to a different level.
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