PESHAWAR: Polio remained dominant on the sports ground of Islamia College University, Peshawar during the National Ability Sports festival held on Thursday. Naya Daur conducted a survey on the occasion and interviewed managers and players of the competing teams about the factors behind disabilities observed.
The general sectary of Friends of Paraplegics (FOP) Peshawar Centre, Engineer Irfan, stated that the purpose of the festival was to create awareness among the people about the problems of people with disabilities in our society.
He added that around 150 players from all over the country participated in four categories of sports including cricket, table tennis, wheelchair races and board games. He told Naya Daur that about 70% of the disabled persons who are participating in the festival have been affected by the polio virus – out of which most belong to various areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Senior player and winner of 2006 Pacific Games in the category of table tennis, Ihsan Danish from KP’s team, stated that 79 Players from KP had been competing in this event, out of which 59 were polio sufferers.
Muhammad Idrees from Mardan, student of Bachelor of Science (BS) zoology, said that he was hit by polio at age five, and he faced a lot of problems due to the unavailability of a wheelchair track in his college. “Without my friends’ help I couldn’t even take my classes, as they always helped me to go upstairs.”
On the opening ceremony of the sports festival, the Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr. Noshad Ahmad of Islamia College University pledged in his speech that within a year the college would be made accessible for handicapped persons.
Abdul Saleem Khan, the manager of Sindh Cricket Team, stated that 12 players participated in the sports festival from Sindh. Out of these, 11 players suffer from polio.
On the occasion, the mentor of Gilgit-Baltistan players and Advisor to Chief Minister Engineer Amjad Nadeem said that 7 out of 14 players from that region have suffered polio.
The author is a Peshawar-based journalist and currently working as a reporter and editor with The Frontier Post. He can be reached at email@example.com