Published: 09th July 2018
Rajasthan-based footballer Raquim Khan wants to do away with the word 'disabled' and help such children through sports
When his football career ended, Raquim Khan didn't let himself feel too badly. Instead, he started training differently-abled children in the sport
You'd think with a unique name like Raquim Khan (strange was the first adjective that came to mind!) coupled with the fact that he's a gold medallist and a national-level player, he'd be well-known across the country. But in reality, this footballer's career couldn't advance beyond the confines of Jaipur, Rajasthan. But he didn't let that keep him off the field, or in his words, “A true player never abandons the field.”
Initially, when his team members used to fall while training, Khan used to help them up, but then he stopped doing this and other small acts to make the team more independent
Having grown up watching his parents teach, the philanthropy bug bit Khan quite early on. When his football career did not advance, he plunged into the field of animal conservation — spreading awareness about the vulnerability of pigeons during Sankranti, doing away with people's misconceptions about snakes and doing his bit for leopard conservation. He was also into civil defense until one day, the football field lured him back.
Huge task: Khan 22 handles as State Secretary of the Rajasthan Cerebral Palsy Sports Association
It happened when one day, Khan saw a physically challenged child on the ground, trying to connect with the ball while the crowd jeered and made degrading comments. “That's when it started,” states Khan, who is currently the State Secretary of the Rajasthan Cerebral Palsy Sports Association. He soon started training differently-abled children, who had only watched football on TV before, so that they could find their footing in society through the sport. “I started playing by myself and then left them on the field with footballs,” says the 25-year-old, explaining his teaching strategy. Very patiently, he taught them skills first and then the techniques.
Khan used to talk to parents and tell them about the importance of sports, and the opportunities to represent India in Paralympic sports
Khan then received a call to be part of a workshop that was being conducted by CP Sports Association of India and CP International Sports Association. He gave a presentation which, of course, charmed them all, including the CP World Chairman, who was also present. And that's how he came to be who he is today. Three of his state players have been chosen to play at the CP World Games 2018 and will represent India in Barcelona, Spain. “I am just happy that the jerseys of these students will bear the Indian flag,” says Khan emotionally.
“I want to erase the word 'disabled' from the dictionary because they are specially-abled,” says Khan and shares that his ultimate goal is to start a sports academy for such children, where they can live and train for their future.
To know more about him, click on facebook.com/raquim.khan