Bangladesh men's and women's teams left for Nepal yesterday to take part in the four-nation international wheelchair basketball tournament, which gets underway today.
The four-nation tournament, with India, Nepal and Pakistan being the other teams, will conclude on November 19.
Bangladesh's head coach Basit Ali oversaw the preparation of both teams at the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in Savar over the last two weeks. The finally selected 20 players include students, businessmen and RMG workers who have been rehabilitated after getting treatment from CRP.
Taking to this correspondent yesterday at the CRP, Wasit Ali, who is also a coach of the national basketball team, said he is optimistic that Bangladesh would win titles in both categories.
Bangladesh had earlier won a men's title in a tri-nation tournament in 2014 but this will be the first international assignment for the women's team, he added.
Lutfa Akter, 27, is one of the members of the women's team who learned to play wheelchair basketball after being admitted to the CRP in 2013. A polio patient since she was three years old, Lutfa has been confined to a wheelchair all these years. However, the physical challenge did not deter her from trying out this unique sport, which she said finally gave her a great opportunity to represent the country.
Marzana Akter Trina, 12, a student of Sher-e-Bangla Government Girls' High School and College, had an accident in 2014 which left her unable to walk. After being admitted to the CRP, she began playing wheelchair basketball and is now likely to lead the women's team.
Each of the members of both teams have similar stories of losing limbs in accidents or through diseases, but thanks to the efforts of CRP, they have now found a new way to overcome those challenges and represent the country beyond borders.