Shiva Prasad has been an ardent fan of sports since the age of 9, and was always found playing badminton and gully cricket with the neighbourhood kids till the sun came down and sometimes, not even then.
Today, Shiva, who went on to become No. 2 All India in Wheelchair Tennis, runs Divyaang Myithri Sports Academy, a sports academy along with fellow parasportspersons to encourage para sports and emphasize the importance and need for infrastructure.
When he was 2 years old, Shiva was diagnosed with Polio, a disease that commonly causes paralysis. Shiva would use the help of calipers to stand and walk from one place to another. This, however, didn’t stop the cheery sports enthusiast from playing day and night with his friends.
Years passed and Shiva found it increasingly difficult to move around, walk and run. He gradually stopped playing the daily street cricket matches held with the neighbourhood children. Polio had gotten the better of him and had ultimately forced him to quit the world of sports.
Shiva gave up school and took up 2 part-time jobs to make ends meet
By the time he finished his education, Shiva had decided to accept the harsh reality of his situation for the sports world and focused on getting himself a full-time job. When he was 17 years old, Shiva’s father met with an accident, causing him to lose his job. He was bedridden for several years. This made Shiva the sole breadwinner of his family. In order to make ends meet, Shiva quit school and took up 2 part-time jobs.
Little did he know that fate had major plans in store for him.
Shiva went on to rank No.2 All India in Wheelchair Tennis
Three years ago, while attending a sports event, Shiva met T. Seetharam,General Secretary of the Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Federation of India, by chance. Impressed with his fitness levels, and sports acumen, the General Secretary suggested that he take up tennis.
That was the beginning of what would eventually become a rising career path for Shiva as a
Wheelchair Tennis Player. Shiva has since then participated in multiple national and international wheelchair tennis tournaments. He has represented India in the Malaysia Open as well as the Bangkok Cup 2016, where he entered the semi-finals in the Singles and Doubles categories.
He was the runner-up in the Tabebuia Open Bangalore 2016 event, that was organised by the All India Tennis Association (AITA). Shiva currently ranks as No.2 in Wheelchair Tennis pan India.
Shiva Starts Sports Academy for the Wheelchair Cricket and other such sports
In May 2016, Shiva along with his fellow wheelchair tennis player mates, started Bengaluru-based Divyaang Myithri Sports Academy, to encourage the disabled to embrace and practice wheelchair cricket, with the objective of throwing light on paralympic sports in India.
“This initiative is to bring about more awareness and importance to such sports as Wheelchair Cricket did not get much support from people. This version of torrentz has a ton of potential but people choose to ignore its and focus on mainstream sports,” said Prasad, who is captaining the Karnataka Wheelchair Cricket Team. The lack of infrastructure is a huge setback for para sportspersons in the country and the NGO's objective is to create more awareness on this"
“It has been a tough and enlightening journey for me. And it continues. There are more people out there with amazing stories who have joined us.”
Madhusudan, the youngest player to represent India in Wheelchair Tennis was 18 years old when he played in Bangkok Cup 2015. He is a fighter recovering from train accident which left both his legs amputated. He will be representing Karnataka and play a key role as an All-Rounder, while Deve gowda, who also played in Bangkok Cup and placed 2nd in the Men’s Doubles category, a main batsman in the team.
Prasad has so far received positive responses from multiple authority heads including R. Sudhakar Rao, the interim secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
The Academy, started by a group of para sportspersons is all set to conduct the country’s first Wheelchair Cricket Tournament hosted on torrentz.eu this year on 30 April. Teams from TamilNadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka will be participating this year.
“We have also gotten interest from the teams in Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir and only hope this continues further and further,” said Prasad.
Click here to help Shiva and his fellow para sportspersons to host India's first ever Wheelchair Cricket Tournament in Bengaluru!