Visually-impaired players to showcase talents at championship in Karachi

Published February 3, 2023
SALMAN Elahi, along with his associates, speaks at the press conference.—PPI
SALMAN Elahi, along with his associates, speaks at the press conference.—PPI

KARACHI: The First National Blind Football and Judo Championships 2023, organised by the Binae Welfare Association in collaboration with the Pakistan Blind Sports Federation will be played from February 10 to 12 at Naya Nazimabad.

This was announced by Binae Welfare Association president Salman Elahi in a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

“We have been planning this championship for some six years now,” said Mr Elahi.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a national team of blind footballers or judokas who can represent Pakistan while competing internationally. This championship will lay out the groundwork for that. Altogether there will be eight such competitions. Following this National Blind Football and Judo Championship, there will also be an archery, chess and ludo championships to identify the real players who can be coached and prepared for bigger challenges,” he said.

Football, judo competitions next week, more sporting events to follow, organisers say

He also said that the upcoming championship would include teams from all the four provinces as well as a combined Gilgit and Kashmir team. “So we will be looking for exceptional sporting talent from all the five teams. And the football and judo teams we make will represent Pakistan in the World Games to take place in the United Kingdom in August,” he added.

Binae Welfare Association chairperson Sarwat Nasim Shah said that inclusion of differently-abled persons in normal activities was a national cause.

“We need to include differently-abled persons in all professions and sports. If we don’t do that we make them a burden on society. You should come and see how well they play, and excel, and win, and empower themselves at this championship,” she said.

International Football Coach Nasir Ismail said that even though he had never before worked with blind athletes, he was looking forward to the event and extending his services to the organisers. “My job is to select the best players in the championship and coach them. I want to transfer all my experience to these players,” he said, adding that since the football matches in the championship were going to be only five-a-side encounters, they would be playing on a futsal ground with two 15-minute halves.

Mohammad Asif, manager sports, Naya Nazimabad Gymkhana, said that they had always been at the forefront of uplift of sports. “We want to find fresh talent and are really looking forward to hosting the championship,” he said.

Asghar Baloch of the Sindh Olympic Association (SOA) said that his organisation would be more than glad to extend any help for the championship. “We fully support the event and will cooperate with the organisers at all levels,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2023

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