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Kumble wins laurels, this time off the field

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BRINGING joy: Anil Kumble interacts with children after he was felicitated by the Shakti Foundation in Chennai on Sunday.
BRINGING joy: Anil Kumble interacts with children after he was felicitated by the Shakti Foundation in Chennai on Sunday.

Staff Reporter

Cricketers do their bit to make disabled children smile

Chennai: Skipper Anil Kumble and his team of men in blue gave away autographs, distributed cakes and spoke encouraging words to a group of physically challenged children here on Sunday.

Shakti Foundation, a non-governmental organisation for the physically challenged, held a ceremony to felicitate Mr. Kumble for his contribution to their growth.

Began in 1997

The foundation’s association with the cricketer began in 1997 when he met Velan Raghuvir, the NGO’s founder, who was afflicted with muscular dystrophy.

Although Velan passed away in 1998, Kumble’s continued to support the Foundation.

Cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Venkatesh Prasad have also been supporting the Foundation.

Mr. Kumble cut a cake and distributed it among the children.

Many of the children gathered around the team with little pieces of paper for autographs.

“Embodiment of commitment”

Velan’s mother, Vasanth Raghuvir, said Mr. Kumble was “an embodiment of commitment who brought untold happiness in the last year of Velan’s life”.

Mr. Tendulkar said he would look forward to seeing the physically-challenged children as part of the audience for the upcoming test match at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium.

He requested the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association to provide facilities like ramps, disabled-friendly toilets and seating space for the children.

Cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly also praised Mr. Kumble for his leadership skills.

T.T. Ashok, past chairman of the CII Tamil Nadu State Council, and renowned film director Rajeev Menon lauded the team for displaying character and dignity in Australia.

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