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Project Mumbai Wheelers organize basketball event to promote accessibility for para-sports persons in city; see pics

10:15 PM Nov 28, 2021 | Sherine Raj

Accessibility for disabled people remains woefully inadequate even in a metropolis like Mumbai. To promote accessibility for para-sports persons, a show match of the wheelchair-bound basketball team of Mumbai--PROJECT MUMBAI WHEELERS- was played on Sunday, wherein able-bodied persons were given an opportunity to join in and shoot basketball sitting on wheelchairs.

The initiative is part of a larger objective to make Mumbai accessible and draw the attention of citizens towards para-sports.

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Talking to the Free Press Journal, Project Mumbai CEO Shishir Joshi said, “From a sporting point of view, we want the players to ace

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at the Paralympics and from a social point of view we want a change in the mindset of people and make 100 more institutions more accessible for the differently-abled.” Some of the players also included national and international level, basketball players.

Geeta Chouhan (32), a member of the national women’s wheelchair basketball team said, “We should never think of a disability as a disability. I love to play and I want to win the gold at the Paralympics for my country. I want to keep this dream alive.”

The coach of the team, Captain Louis George Meprath, a retired Indian navy officer said, “Playing basketball in a wheelchair is very difficult, you have to control the wheelchair and the ball. These players have done exceptionally well.”

“A normal wheelchair costs about 40,000 but an advanced one for playing sports costs around 5.3 lakhs. We are constantly looking out for sponsors. We are aiming for the Paralympics and I know that my players can do it,” he added.

Mumbai based NGO Project Mumbai aims at providing accessible playing infrastructure, coaching support, employment opportunities to wheelchair basketball players not only in Mumbai and but across Maharashtra.

Sharing his experience an able-bodied organiser of the event, Antony Mascarenhas, who tried shooting the ball while sitting on a wheelchair said, “Playing the sport while balancing on a wheelchair is indeed difficult, the willpower and energy of the players are commendable.”

Project Mumbai collaborated and partnered with the Mumbai Wheelers Wheel Chair Basket Ball Association and the alumni of Dominic Savio school for conducting the event. Parents of children on wheelchairs were also invited to watch and get inspired.

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