Srinagar: A specially-abled lady from North Kashmir is inspiring hundreds of people as she has represented India at the international level in wheelchair basketball.

Ishrat Rasheed, 24, a resident of Bangdara village of North Kashmir’s Baramulla is the first specially-abled International basketball player of J&K.

While talking with news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Ishrat said that in the year 2016 she fell from the second floor of her house which resulted in grave injuries to spinal cord leaving her, paralyzed waist-below and wheelchair-bound.

“I was unable to accept this reality and nobody would have thought at that stage that I would ever be able to reach an international stage and represent India in wheelchair basketball,” she said.

“During the first six months, when I was bed-ridden and wheelchair-bound, I got very much depressed. However, one day my father took me to Medicare Society where disability was a normal thing,” Ishrat said. “I somehow understood that there were hundreds of people like me in the world and that changed my perception and I came out of my depression.”

At the Medicare Society, Ishrat saw some boys, whose movement was also confined to wheelchair, playing basketball there and this ignited confidence in her and she started practising with the boys.

After practising for 3 days, Ishrat was selected for the nationals for the first time during a camp at the Indoor stadium. She played her nationals in Tamil Nadu followed by Mohali.

She said that during the communication blockade after the abrogation of the special status of J&K, she was informed by local police and the army that she has to reach Chennai for the national coaching camp.

“It was entirely due to the joint efforts of captain Louis George of the Indian Navy, who was the coach of the Indian wheelchair Womens’ Basketball team, and Colonel Isenhower, a retired army officer in Kerala, who traced me in Baramulla,” she said.

Ishrat said with the help of the army, she reached Chennai after two days, just in time for her coaching camp.

“I attended the camp in Chennai from where I was selected to represent India for the Asia-Oceania wheelchair basketball championship, at Pattaya in Thailand,” she said.

Representing India at International level and becoming the first female specially-abled international basketball player from J&K changed everything for her.

“Whatever conditions one may be, it is best not to lose confidence in oneself, but go ahead positively, striving hard.” she said.

Ishrat said that she resumed her studies too after a gap of four years as well and dozens of specially-abled girls have started taking part in basketball after watching her.

“We must treat specially-abled persons very well and support them, that motivates them so that they must they won’t feel lonely,” she said.

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