Exactly a decade ago, ceasefire had eased a bit of tensions from a 10-year civil war that had gripped the country. It was a time when Nepalis moved forward with a slim light of hope that the bloodshed is now over.
But for the Armyman Pawan Ghimire that was a time when darkness prevailed. While in a patrolling at the Kalikot-Jumla road, Pawan lost his both eyes in an ambush, and for the rest of his life, every day was a night. An ordinary man would have given up in despair, but for a determined Pawan everything was not lost.
Pawan’s courage to break the stereotype with the formation of Cricket Association of the Blind (CAB), Nepal in 2006 and finally taking Nepal into the 2012 Cricket World Cup Blind have won him and his organisation Special Award in the Pulsar Sports Award today.
A valiant Pawan was equally commanding when he delivered his speech after receiving the award. “There was a time when I used to cry of my blindness but now I have a reason to smile. Today I feel like winning another battle,” he said. “My blindness had repeatedly asked me to surrender but I made my blindness to surrender in front of me,” the crowd applauded as Pawan concluded his speech.
A Development Director of Asia under the World Blind Cricket Council, Pawan learned the trades of the game after a Pakistani delegation arrived Nepal with a coach to train 33 blind cricketers in 2006. The Pakistani delegation left Nepal gifting four cricket bats and 20 balls.
And by the time that delegation had landed in Pakistan, a leader was already born in Nepal. With very limited resources available, Pawan made up his mind to lead the blind cricketers and established CAB Nepal earning himself an invitation for the Cricket World Cup for Blind in Pakistan.
The experience gained from Pakistan enabled him to learn about hosting tournaments which he applied practically in Nepal organising various events. In a short period of time, Nepal boasted more than 450 blind cricketers.
Nepali boys then started playing tournaments in Pakistan in 2008 and 2010 that opened gates for the World Cup. The dream of playing the biggest tournament realised in 2012 and Nepal became the only non-Test playing nation to play in the Cricket World Cup for Blind in Bangalore, India.
More was yet to come from Pawan and his association that has been functioning under a proper system. Pawan along with his dedicated teammates have already organised several national and regional tournamnets for blind women.
The effort saw Nepal produce 120 blind women cricketers giving the country a peculiar record of being the only nation so far to have a blind women’s cricket team. The achievement has also nominated CAB Nepal in the Beyond Sports Award to be organised in the USA in September.
The story was published in Wednesday edition of The Himalayan Times.