Deaf, mute siblings rejected by bike racing academies in Kerala start conquering dreams in Bengaluru
Kochi native Jo Francis knocked the doors of all leading racing academies in Kerala to actualise the dream of his two deaf and mute teenage children to become bike racers. Everywhere he heard the words ‘how can a deaf person take up bike racing?’ with humiliation and rejection.
Jo recalls, once a trainer scoffed at him saying ‘a blind could be on racing tracks, but never ever a deaf’. But Jo wasn’t ready to easily give up on the efforts to realise his children's dreams. He went on searching for racing academies that could admit them.
Finally, a racing academy Bengaluru took up their dream as a challenge and accepted to give training to Jo’s two children Sofia Jo and Richard Jo. The academy provided training on racing tracks in Coimbatore.
Training is scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays. As it was impractical to stay in Coimbatore and undergo training, father and children set off to Coimbatore on every Friday evening to Coimbatore in their car.
Over Rs 1 lakh is spent for two days training in Coimbatore. Money is spent for accommodation, track rent, bike, gear, boots and training fee. Though it’s a remarkable amount, Jo is ready to spent to achieve his children’s dream.
Sofia and Richard are now preparing to earn a licence to compete in racing competitions. Both dream to win national racing championships. Though there are separate racing competitions for women, Sofia is determined not to get any special consideration based on gender.
Sofia is the first deaf woman in Kerala to acquire a driving license and the runner-up of Miss Deaf India. She is the first kerala woman to participate in Miss Deaf World.
The siblings also take the bike racing training by TVS academy.