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Special strength & will to goal with élan

Arvind Kumar is physically challenged but he does not lack the confidence to score the goal, ŕ la Suárez.

With the Fifa World Cup being beamed live on his TV every evening, or even late into the night, the 38-year-old just keeps himself glued to it for keeping himself motivated. Arvind is suffering from short leg syndrome but he goes out on the field to practise football, to take the real fun of the game.

Like Arvind, who has left leg short, Chandan Kumar (29) also loves to spend his time playing football everyday at the ground near his home.

Arvind and Chandan, whose right leg is a bit bent, are set to take part in the 8th National Paralympic Football Tournament to be organised by Paralympic Committee of Bihar from June 28 to July 1.

Shivajee Kumar, secretary, Paralympic Committee of Bihar, said: “This tournament is open only to differently abled people, including those who do not have one hand or have any problem in one foot. People suffering from cerebral palsy (a neurological condition which causes physical disability) would also be part of the tournament. So far, 14 teams have confirmed their participation in this national-level tournament — Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Gujarat. Last time when we organised this tournament two years ago, only seven teams had participated. We are happy that the number has doubled in two years.”

Shivajee said this time the excitement would also be a little bit more than the previous time. “The tournament is taking place during Fifa World Cup when people are already crazy. We are hoping that because of the Fifa World Cup, residents would also turn out in good number at our tournament. We have booked the Moinul Haque Stadium for the tournament while we have arranged for the accommodation of the players at the Patliputra Sports Complex,” added Shivajee.

The differently abled persons taking part in this tournament are quite excited. “I am anxiously waiting for the tournament. I am regularly practising for it so that I can give my best,” said Chandan.

Chandan, working as a clerk in the secretariat, added: “I am playing football since 2004. Whenever people see me playing, they ask me many questions as to how do I manage to play football with my disability but I tell them only one thing that where there is a will, there is a way. The upper portion of my right leg is so thin that it cannot even support me in standing but despite these challenges, I am able to play football. It is only because I have a strong will.”