For the first time in the country, a sports event named 'Leader's Cup' is going to be arranged for physically challenged cricketers. Gopalganj Sporting Club will organise the event to commemorate and pay tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his sons Sheikh Jamal, Sheikh Kamal, and Sheikh Russel.
Gopalganj Sporting Club usually works with three types of teams -- men cricket team, women cricket team, and physically challenged team. This year, the club will observe Mujib Borsho by hosting a sports event for players with disabilities. The National Paralympic Committee of Bangladesh is also working with the club to organise the tournament.
The club will go for player hunting in every division of the country to look for new talents. It will start on January 23 and continue until February 20. Two days trial will take place in each division. The club will select 45 players from the entire country and form three teams with them. Each of the teams will consist of physically challenged players. Location and schedule of the process will be updated on the official Facebook page of the club.
There will be two rounds in the tournament-- group stage and final. All the matches will take place from March 01 to March 03. The teams have been named after Bangabandhu's sons Sheikh Jamal Challengers, Sheikh Kamal Warriors, and Sheikh Russel Dreamers.
Most of the differently-abled people in Bangladesh are denied work opportunities despite having the capability of performing different activities. According to the survey of Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics 2016, nine out of every 1,000 people in Bangladesh are physically challenged. The country cannot prosper if it leaves its people with disabilities behind and deprives them of their rights and opportunities. It is essential to train and develop their abilities so that they can be part of the workforce.
This vision encouraged Gopalganj Sporting Club to initiate the Leader's Cup tournament. Its goal is to pave the way for the players with disabilities to make a contribution to the development of the country. "We want to ensure the participation of everyone in working towards transforming the country and making it the 'Shonar Bangla' that Bangabandhu always dreamed of," said Raju Ahmed Raj, director and cricket coach of Gopalganj Sporting Club.
"This initiative has a great purpose. We are optimistic that the event will effectively serve the purpose if we can organise it successfully," said Mahfuz Khan Tipu, captain of the physically challenged team and chief coordinator of the tournament. Besides, the players are going through a critical time in the pandemic. The captain believes that arranging the tournament will be an effective way of providing them with financial assistance while giving them a platform to utilise their potential in a nationwide event. The club is eagerly looking forward to the tournament with a hope of accomplishing its goal.
Fatiha is a bibliophile, cinephile, passionate content writer, and an undergraduate student at University of Dhaka. She can be reached at [email protected]