Friday, December 1, 2023

Disability motivates cricketer Raju, finds place in national team for Sharjah meet

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, March 7: When physical handicap turns into a motivational factor, there is no looking back for a person bent of leaving a mark on the field of preferred pursuit. The slog that has to be put in to attain the heights is much more than that of God’s more fortunate creation but at the end of the day, the pride of achievement glitters more brightly as in the case of physically challenged cricketer Raju Karmakar of Ghatshila. A resident of distant Kanimahuli and youngest of four siblings of farmer Gaurango Karmakar, Raju has played as a wicket-keeper batsman  in various national tournaments in India and Bangladesh but his flight to the top has not been easy. He had to face the same blockades as any other, normal middleclass person. The difference in Raju Karmakar’s case was sheer determination. His story of the climb to the national cricket team for the specially abled players would be worth a look and could even be an inspiration for others of his ilk.

Raju Karmakar is lame on his left foot and walks with a crutch. Pecuniary conditions forced him to opt out of school after class 9. Suddenly, After two years, luck took a turn and Raju passed his matriculation exams from NSC School in Jadugoda. Presently he is pursuing his intermediate course at Ghatshila College.

Raju’s father Gaurango Karmakar is an average farmer while his mother, Indubala is a house wife. He has two elder sisters Sukeshi and Anjali and an elder brother Ajay. Raju is the youngest in the family.

It was under the aegis of Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India (PCCAI) that Raju Karmakar represented Jharkhand in a national tournament and won the award for the Best Wicketkeeper and Batsman in January, 2013. Between 2016 and 2017, he played in several national tournaments of PCCAI in India and Bangladesh. But he did not rest on his laurels and worked harder for the goal he was best suited for — attaining a spot under the national team’s sky.  Raju’s performances in the national tournaments merited attention of the PCCAI selectors and he was given a ticket for Sharjah to represent his country in the six nation international tournament to be held at Dubai April 3 to April 10 to be organized by International Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged. The matches will be played at the famous Sharjah international Cricket Stadium. Raju made no secret of his joy at the selection and opportunity to represent his country in the international tournament. The family was happy too and poverty for the time being has taken a backseat.

The otherwise shy Raju Karmakar was forthwith in his reply to queries. He said, “I had to put in a lot of struggle against several odds to reach where I am presently. All I need now is support and cooperation so that I can make my community, my village and my state proud,” and to the young he advised, “Don’t let your physical handicap become your weakness but convert it into your strength. Recognize the hidden strength in you and develop your will power with this hidden strength. Delete negativity, develop self confidence and move forward. Success is bound to be yours.”

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