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Para Sports

'You are beautiful but who will marry you': Kashmir's bravehearts in Indian wheelchair basketball team

Ishrat Akhter and Insha Bashir will be part of the Indian wheelchair basketball team at the first international tournament to be hosted in the country. But this comes after years of self-doubt for them.

You are beautiful but who will marry you: Kashmirs bravehearts in Indian wheelchair basketball team

Ishrat Akhter practises in Baramulla (WBFI)


Irshad Hussain

Updated: 23 Oct 2022 10:13 AM GMT

Budgam: As India prepares to host an international wheelchair basketball tournament for the first time in New Delhi in November, Kashmir has found a reason to rejoice.

Two members of the 12-member Indian women's squad are from here - Ishrat Akhter from Baramulla and Insha Bashir from Budgam. They were picked to the team through selection trials organised by the Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council.

For the two superwomen, being selected to the Indian team for the WBFI and ICRC International Tournament makes up for years of self-doubt.

Insha remembers the incident in 2015 when she fell off from the roof of her house, thus breaking her spine and ribs, as something that changed her entire outlook on life.

"I remember when people gave me fake sympathy. 'You are beautiful but who will marry you,' they used to say. 'You are handicapped now'. I went through a nervous breakdown because of taunts. I wanted to become a doctor, but those dreams were gone forever. I never thought I would represent India on International platforms," Insha told the Bridge.

This is not the first time she has been selected to the Indian team. In March 2019, she travelled to the United States to represent India.

The Indian women's wheelchair basketball team will be seen in action at the invitational event, which will take place from November 5–11 at the Jaypee Sports Complex in Greater Noida. Cambodia and Nepal will be the other womens' teams at the tournament. Libya, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, India, Bangladesh and Nepal will field mens' teams.

"Organizing such an event is going to be tremendously beneficial to persons with disabilities in India and will showcase the sport well at wheelchair basketball in India," the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) said in a press release.

​Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of basketball, but there are some modifications. There is no double dribble rule in wheelchair basketball. A traveling violation occurs if the player takes more than two pushes while in possession of the ball without dribbling.

For fouls, the wheelchair is considered part of the player's body in relation to establishing responsibility for contact on the court. The player must remain firmly seated in his/her chair and must not use his/her lower limbs to steer the chair or gain an unfair advantage.

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