Combating his ‘blind side’
Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi, 20, was born without vision in his left eye. Unable to afford the medical procedure and with no guarantee of its success, he lost vision in his other eye as well.
But instead of dwelling on the past, Irfan chose to focus on what he could control – his future. He took up judo and was recently placed third at the 2013 World Judo Championships for the Visually Impaired held in Hungary. He was the only Hyderabadi participant at the competition, which had competitors from 25 countries.
“I was one of the four-member Indian team. The contender from UP won a gold medal. My family is very proud of me. Also, now I have more friends in college,” says the student at Chanchalguda Junior College.
His next goal is to participate in the 2016 Paralympic games, but he is bothered by the lack of support from the state government. “My father is a vegetable salesman and financing my travel to matches is always a concern. My tickets and visa to Hungary were sponsored by the Central government. Accommodation worked out to Rs 60,000, for which my coach, family and well-wishers pitched in. The UP government awarded Rs 15 lakh to the gold medalist, so I’m sad that the AP government hasn’t offered any help,” he rues.
Irfan is thankful to his coach M.A. Aziz for the support. “Judo for visually impaired requires concentration on the coach’s commands,” he says.