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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Wheelchair Basketball Player Kartiki Patel Is Headed For The Asian Para Games Qualifiers

  • IWB Post
  •  February 21, 2018

While an accident took away Kartiki’s ability to walk at the age of 25, there was little that it could do to her spirit. Almost 10 years after that accident, owing to her determination, wheelchair basketball player Kartiki Patel is now headed for the Asian Para Games qualifiers in Bangkok next month.

Kartiki is a woman who has always managed to find a silver lining despite the kind of challenges life has flung on her. Ever after the road accident that severed her spinal cord and left the part of her body below the navel immobile, she found the silver lining in the fact that at least her legs weren’t amputated. The woman always had a knack for sports and even bunked college lectures to play basketball. She kept finding her succor in the sport even after losing her mother in class 12 and her father in the final year of her undergraduate course.

She secured a backhand job in IT as soon as she finished her MCA and just when she thought that she had her life a little in control, the accident happened and shook everything. She was pulled back to her work by a senior who had multiple sclerosis himself and was always up for motivating people with similar issues. Getting back to work distracted her from all the negative thoughts that thronged her during the bed rest. The woman just had to be dragged out of the bed and then there was no stopping her.

She began with swimming and then got into wheelchair badminton and won the nationals three years in a row. She represented India in para tournaments abroad and also won a bronze medal in the Spanish Open. She was introduced to Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) at a swimming meet and soon her life took a full circle as she got back to basketball, this time in a wheelchair.

She expresses that wheelchair basketball is obviously no easy feat as you have to use your hands to control the ball as well as move the wheelchair simultaneously. Kartiki says, “When you’re standing, it all comes from your knees, right? In a wheelchair, it has to come from your waist, your torso; that fitness is not there yet. I need to get a stronger back and abs.”

Kartiki tied the knot with Herman last year who stayed with her throughout her hardships and she is eager to start a family as soon as they settle down in their respective careers and fulfill their commitments. “Till then, I have a lot of sports to play. I haven’t written it down; I should write it and tick them off one by one,” she says.

What Kartiki is doing is sans any doubts a herculean task as she frequently suffers from pressure sores which send her back to the bed for days. But there is hardly anything that can deter this woman’s spirits. She enrolled herself for a master’s in social entrepreneurship at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 2015 and has already started working on her business idea which involves adaptive fitness classes for paraplegics. She has been taking scuba lessons and has also bought a tricycle for herself.

Earlier this month she was appointed the captain of the Indian women’s basketball team for the Asian Para Games qualifiers in Bangkok in March. The woman is determined to not let anything dampen her never-say-die spirit as she says that her next goal is “The 2020 Paralympics”. She adds “I plan to go even if I don’t get to participate. I’m taking it one tournament at a time.”

H/T: The Hindu

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