B. Venkatesh; Mumbai Newsline, Mumbai
Students of the ‘Happy Home and School for the Blind’, Mumbai, discover their strength and much more through judo.
At the National Judo Championship held on February 25 and 26, 2006, in Mumbai, 30 students of ‘Happy Home and School for the Blind’, Mumbai demonstrated that judo wasn’t something which they took up just for kicks.
"I know exactly where you are standing. Not to my right or left, but bang in front of me," said 10 year-old visually impaired Sachin Patel. After four years of intensive training, he can make out the exact location of the source of sound waves. Judo has made him mentally alert and physically fit. He goes on to add how judo has helped him in different ways; "Before I got into this sport, boarding a train was a major hassle. Now I do it with ease. I know the exact place where the train will stop and when I have to board it."
The school started judo training to boost the confidence of students. Rajesh Kakkar, judo coach, said: "We were surprised by the number of students who opted for the sport. But now, looking at how popular it has become, I realise how much it means to the kids."
Judo training has helped students discover their strength and has made them independent. Mahavir Chauhan (aged 11), one of the students said, "When we are not together we still can deal with situations. Nobody can dare touch me, I can drop him down with a drop kick."
For nine-year-old Tushan Wala, the youngest participant from the school, there was a different reason for liking judo: ‘‘The confidence factor is certainly there, but the sport has made me happy. I used to feel homesick, but going out with my friends for the judo classes has changed my world."