May 23, 2006

Uganda

Cricket not crutches

Martin Williamson

A very interesting story on Reuters about disabled cricketers in Uganda.

"When we got here, we wondered how these guys in wheelchairs were going to get down," said Andy Dalby-Welsh [one of the overseas coaches] gesturing at the entrance to the ground: a hulking, green wooden stand looming over dozens of steep, cracked concrete steps. "They just hopped out, hurtled down and beat us to it," he said. "The level of athleticism, enthusiasm and talent we've found is just incredible."

Disability in Africa has sometimes been blamed on witchcraft and sufferers are often isolated. But in a sign of positive change, South Africa will host the third blind cricket World Cup in December. Both previous tournaments - which are played by mixed teams of blind and partially sighted players using a white ball containing ball bearings to make it rattle - have been held in cricket-friendly India.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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