Indomitable Reza defies the odds

May 28, 2016

Selim Reza, a physically-challenged boy from Kushtia district, took part in the high-jump event of the 32nd National Junior (aged-level) Athletics Championship on Friday with a hope of representing Bangladesh at the international level. Reza, a class eight student of remote Chilmari village under Daulatpur upazila of Kushtia district, had to represent Narail in the competition after his own District Sports Association refused to include him.
The 16-year-old boy, younger son of farmer Siraj Sheikh, was born with a limitation in his right foot, which is shorter than his left-foot.
But the indomitable boy has put his limitations behind him to become champion in high-jump event of the Inter-School competition for the last two years.
The physical shortcomings left Reza ignored by Kushtia before he was picked up by Narail coach Dilip Chakrabarty, who was moved by the enthusiasm of the young athlete.
‘I saw him playing in the Inter School competition two years ago,’ said Dilip. ‘He was pleading for an opportunity to compete at the national level. I found that he has potential, so I did not hesitate much to include him.’
Reza expressed his gratitude to his coach for giving him such an opportunity.
‘When I requested sir [Dilip] to give me a chance, he thought a little before including me,’ said Reza, who covered 1.60-metre to be placed fourth against a group of able-bodied athletes.
‘I’m really thankful to him [Dilip]. Only because of him, now I’m here.
‘Before the meet, sir provided me with food and accommodation at his home. I have been staying there for the last one month to prepare for the meet.
‘Though I failed to win a medal, I’m happy with my score because maybe it will open the door for me to participating in the Special Olympics.’
Dilip vowed that he will continue to assist Reza to take him to the Special Olympics.
‘You see, he [Reza] put some regular jumpers behind in the competition and his score was also not so bad. So, my new challenge is prepare him for the Special Olympics.
‘I have already informed Reza’s potential to Faruk Bhai [Farukul Islam, national director of Special Olympics Bangladesh] and he told me to look after Reza properly so that he can show his calibre in the trial for the Special Olympics.’
Reza was also eager to represent Bangladesh in the international arena.
‘I know my potential and I also believe I will impress the selector if I get a chance in the trial of the Special Olympics,’ said a confident Reza.
‘My dream is to clinch gold medal for the nation at the Special Olympics.’
Reza said his family members provide him with continuous support to become a good athlete despite their poverty.
Reza stated that he follows South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius as his role model despite him having convicted of murder.
‘I saw a physically-challenged athlete [Oscar Pistorius] represented South Africa in the Olympic Games,’ said Reza.
‘He was widely praised for his performance despite running with his physical limitation and I want to be the same.’

-With New Age input

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