Mumbai, June 25: Raju Dabhade a newspaper delivery boy has invented the international Roll Ball game, making India proud. He uses to deliver newspapers on roller skates. He set his sights on creating an all-new sport, something that would “make a name for India, a game born in India that will be the pride of India’s sports identity.”
He rose through the ranks in roller-speed skating and after retiring from competitive skating, became a physical education teacher. However, the competitive edge never left him.
The idea for Roll Ball came to him in the year 2003 when an errant basketball interrupted his skating instruction. The game is a combination of roller-skating, handball and basketball. It is the only sport in the world that has reached the World Cup stage after being around for only 12 years. It is, in short, a perfect “Made in India” sports model.
The Indian Olympic Association recognized the sport in 2006. By then, Dabhade had spread it not only around India but internationally as well.
He used money from the sale of his ancestral land to finance trips abroad to introduce the sport and establish teams in places as distant and diverse as Kenya and Belarus. It worked so well that a Danish team, not an Indian one, won the first Roll Ball World Cup.
Raju Dabhade was awarded the Raja Mantri Puraskar by the then-chief minister of Maharashtra Dec. 19, 2005, for his contribution to Roll Ball and roller-skating. He shared his idea with colleagues in MES Balshikshan Mandir English Medium School, Kothrud, Pune, where he is a sports teacher.
His colleagues supported his idea wholeheartedly and helped him set up the basic and technical rules and regulations of this new game.