By Deepali Bajaj* Based on the conversation between Shiva Prasad and Meha on A Day On Ginny’s Planet : 25th Oct 2020
What does it take to be the best at what you do? Interest? Determination? Never giving up?
Certainly yes and a lot more! Shiva Prasad, Vice-Captain of the Indian Wheelchair Cricket Team, managed a unique feat of representing India in two sports-tennis and cricket. It was his dream that more disabled people embrace and practice wheelchair sports since participation in Paralympic sports in India is still limited. He started a not-for-profit, Bengaluru-based, Divyang Myithri Sports Academy in 2016. The academy was founded to encourage disabled individuals to take up sports, provide specialised training at the grassroot local level, nurture their ability, and help promising, qualified para-athletes achieve their goals professionally. 1 This ensured a support system for para-athletes as well.
Shiva’s story is one of determination and not giving up with a handful of struggles- both at the court and outside of it. He shares his inspirational journey of following his passion with us. Shiva’s interest in sports developed from a young age. He used to play cricket and badminton with his neighbourhood friends.2 He was diagnosed with polio at 2 and uses callipers to move around.
When he turned 17, his father met with an accident and could not continue to work. This led him to take up two part-time jobs and support his family. Later, he completed his education and even earned a Master’s Degree, which got him his current job.3 But struggling to make ends meet did not discourage him to continue taking up sports later.
Journey from Tennis to Cricket
Shiva shared with us that he met T. Seetharam once, the then Secretary of the All India Wheelchair Tennis Association, at a petrol pump. Seetharam was impressed by Shiva’s fitness levels and suggested him to take up tennis. This was the beginning of Shiva’s professional career in sports.
Shiva has participated in multiple national and international Wheelchair Tennis Tournaments since. He represented India in the Malaysia Open, 2016 and Bangkok Open in 2016. He was the runner-up in the Tabebuia Open Bangalore 2016 event, organised by the All India Tennis Association. Shiva was ranked 2nd in Wheelchair Tennis in India in 20162 above. He played tennis for 4 years. However, in 2016 he had to give it up owing to the expenses involved in playing the sport. But his passion and determination for playing sports led him back to his childhood passion, cricket.
Shiva has been playing cricket since 2016. He is the Vice-Captain of the Indian Wheelchair Cricket Team. The team has participated in two International Tournaments under his leadership. He also leads the Karnataka Wheelchair Cricket Team, which is amongst the top 3 teams in the overall 20 teams pan-India. Shiva shares that his family and people from his workplace supported him thoroughly and his workplace even sponsored some of his international sports tours. He also believes that there is still a gap in the kind of information, support, infrastructure available to all para-athletes and he started with Divyang Myithri Sports Academy to address this gap. They have convened 14 events so far and wish to continue making sports accessible for all.
For anyone interested in topics of inclusion, diversity, disability, sports and/or the intersection of all four, this conversation can provide great insights and deepen one’s understanding about Wheelchair cricket as a sport. You can watch the complete interview here:
About Ginny’s Planet:
Ginny’s Planet is a social enterprise Co-founded by Dr. Shweta Verma in 2019. The brand runs on the core value of helping our teachers and parents to teach their children to become independent, smart and better leaders by equipping them with a deep understanding of empathy, diversity, disability and inclusion. Dr. Shweta and the team design events, workshops and products to help guardians & schools to develop kids’ mindset and evolve as adaptive and flexible human beings. They work with schools to organise workshops for children and teachers.
*Deepali Bajaj, Content Design Intern, Ginny’s Planet. She loves to explore food joints, cook food and listen to music.
- Divyaang Myithri Sports Academy. (n.d.). Linkedin.
- India’s First Ever Wheelchair Cricket Tournament !, Malavika Murali, 2017
- Wheelchair Tennis Player Shiva Prasad dreams of representing India at the Paralympics One Day, Aditi Patwardhan, 2017