Blind chess administrator Charudatta Jadhav brings up cricket bias

Updated: Feb 11, 2018, 11:23 IST | Subodh Mayure

Both are blind sportspersons representing the country at the highest level. However, one enjoys support from the government, but the other still has to fight for every need

Charudatta Jadhav

Both are blind sportspersons representing the country at the highest level. However, one enjoys support from the government, but the other still has to fight for every need. The fortunate one is the blind cricketer, who competes only against blind players while the blind chess player battles against sighted players too and achieves success at the international level. "You have to treat all blind sportspersons equally. Isn't this unfair?" asks All India Chess Federation for the Blind (AICFB) president, Charudatta Jadhav.

He adds, "I have nothing against cricket, but if you compare blind cricket and chess, the high standard of chess at the world level is there for all to see. There are only eight countries playing blind cricket and only India and Pakistan are of some standard while the rest only participate. Whereas, in blind chess, 80 countries have been playing for the last 67 years during which blind Grandmasters have beaten sighted Grandmasters. That is the standard of blind chess at the world level. I can say with pride that we blind chess players have won 10 medals across several tournaments by beating sighted players."

At the heart of the blind chess players' grouse is that except India, most of the top chess-playing courtiers like Russia, Poland and Germany are recognised by their government and enjoy support and facilities. The blind players feel that government backing will help them get jobs. Earlier this week, mid-day reported how four-time national champion Kishan Gangooli decided to quit chess because he is jobless. Jadhav will also be satisfied if the government supports the AICFB through the All India Chess Federation (AICF). Jadhav reiterates: "You have to treat all blind sportspersons equally, be it cricketers or chess players."

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