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Kashmir’s para-cricketer with no arms an inspiration in cricket world

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Srinagar: South Kashmir resident Aamir Hussain, a mere 20 years old boy with his extraordinary ability to play cricket has people in Bijbehara perplexed. Aamir lost both his arms in a machine accident. The devoted Sachin Tendulkar fan devotes his success to the batting maestro.

Twelve years have passed since the accident. Now he is a cricketer playing for his state, batting, bowling and fielding with ease found in few among his able-bodied peers.

Aamir is a resident of Waghama village near Bijbhehar on the banks of the Jhelum river, which is part of the Kashmir Valley belt that specialises in making the famed Kashmir Willow bat.

Young boys here take to ball and bat at a young age, going out to the field whenever they find the opportunity.

Parvez Rasool- the first Jammu and Kashmir cricketer to find a place in the Indian national team, too hails from Bijbehara.

For Aamir, his dream of becoming a cricketer would have been cut short suddenly when he lost both his arms from the shoulders while playing near a bandsaw machine at a willow-cutting unit.

For Aamir’s parents – Bashir Ahmad Lone and Raja Begum – the accident was a huge shock. His father, a farm labour, sold almost his entire property to save his son, second among five siblings comprising four sons and a daughter.

Aamir remained restricted to a hospital bed for almost three years.

After the young boy got out, he learnt how to live life as a differently-abled person, with his doting grandmother assisting him at each step of the torturous rehabilitation process.

Aamir learnt to perform daily chores, so easy for a normal-bodied person, with his lower limbs. Slowly, but surely, he began picking up objects with his feet and, over a period of time, could lift a glass full of water to his lips, bathe and even comb his hair.

“It took me two years to learn to do all things by myself. Now I do them easily without anyone’s help,” Aamir told reporters.

He also learnt to hold a pen with his foot to write and paint with a brush.

“Initially, I found it very hard to write. But I had no other option. I wanted to prove myself,” Aamir said.

Despite hardships, Aamir again picked up his interrupted studies and cleared his class 10 and 12 examinations. He took each difficulty he faced in life as a challenge, even learning to swim after seeing how the ducks paddled.

Yet his dream of being a cricketer had not quite died down. He developed a unique style of holding the bat between his neck and shoulder, to effectively tackle the bowling. He also acquired another remarkable ability- to hold the red cherry in his toes and hurl it as a leg spin, swinging his foot from the hip.

As to fielding, he does it with aplomb, using his feet dexterously to stop the ball or catch it.

Because of his extraordinary bowling and batting skills, he was picked up for the Jammu and Kashmir para-cricket team in 2013 and soon appointed the captain of the squad.

The devastating floods of 2014 in the Kashmir Valley kept Aamir away from cricket for a year but the state team management did not allow him to remain away from the game for long.

Aamir skippered the state team at the 2015 interstate para-cricket tournament in Lucknow where his team won against Manipur. His performance was greatly appreciated at the tournament by everyone.

Having played in Jammu, Delhi and Lucknow, Aamir now has his sights set on foreign venues representing India at International Para-Cricket tournaments.

Aamir’s struggle for a normal life against all odds is the story of an extraordinary achievement which is likely to inspire several others in the state and elsewhere. (Aadil Mir, IANS)

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Why the Grand National is Such a Major Sporting Event?

Whether you’re intrigued by the majesty of the race, backing your favourite horse, or just attending for the splendid occasion, the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK

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Here is why the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in UK. Pixabay
  • Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events
  • Everywhere it garners a massive audience
  • Almost everyone in the United Kingdom is a huge fan this horse racing event

Every year, the Grand National garners a massive gathering. But, this huge crowd of people watching the Grand National at the venue and on television isn’t the collective of horse racing fans. Almost everyone in the United Kingdom, regardless of horse racing fandom and knowledge, has a flutter on the major event. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, people all over the world are tuning in and watching the horses that they back.

But why exactly does the Grand National stand in such high prestige, and how does it draw such a massive audience?

The Race Itself

Source: BBC Sport, via Twitter
Source: BBC Sport, via Twitter

The Grand National is one of the premier jump events on the horse racing calendar – likely only trailing the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in the opinion of most. To add to the trials of the jumps, the race takes place over a massive four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs. As the longest race in Great Britain, that also incorporates jumps, it’s seen as a great test of skill and stamina for the horses and jockeys.

Due to the nature of the race as well the massive field of competing horses – the most to line up was 66 horses in 1992 – upsets occur regularly. The last five winners have all had starting prices above 10/1, including One For Arthur’s 14/1 in 2017, Rule The World’s 33/1 in 2016, and Auroras Encore’s 66/1 in 2013.

At the 2018 Randox Health Grand National (14th April), there’s still a huge field of horses for people to back. According to William Hill, Blacklion, Tiger Roll, and Total Recall are the favourites at 10/1, but that doesn’t preclude the 16/1 The Last Samurai, or the 33/1 Vieux Lion Rouge from winning.

So, whether you back the favourite horse by the bookies, your favourite number, or a grey horse, there’s always the chance that your horse will stay in the race and jump all 30 fences while others fall by the wayside.

The Occasion

Source: BBC Merseyside, via Twitter
Source: BBC Merseyside, via Twitter

While other horse racing venues, such as Cheltenham and Epsom, boast the more recognisable tracks, Aintree is not only a scenic location, but it’s also in an area of residence. It’s known as the People’s Race; being so entrenched in the local community of Aintree embodies that sentiment.

With the Grand National seen as a major date on the calendar, people dress up in their finest and wackiest attire. Aintree is flooded with people who want to see the annual race as well as get swept up in all of the pageantry and the atmosphere.

One pub in particular now goes hand-in-hand with the Grand National. The Queens, which stands just a minute away from the racecourse, says that the Grand National weekend is the best of the year. With the bar open, barbecues fired up, and lots of music, The Queens becomes the perfect post-race venue.

Also Read: ‘Trojan Horse’ Antibody Strategy Shows Promise Against Ebola Virus

Much of the buzz comes from everyone having the chance to win a bet. This gets people cheering in a sport that they may not follow for most of the year. In fact, last year, it was predicted that in the UK alone, around £250 million was wagered on the Grand National.

Whether you’re intrigued by the majesty of the race, backing your favourite horse, or just attending for the splendid occasion, the Grand National is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK every year.