Dr GK Mahantesh
Dr Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar (Mahantesh GK) is an Indian former blind cricket player and sports executive who is the President of Differently-abled Cricket Council DCCI, President of Cricket Association of Blind in India (CABI) & Ex President of World Blind Cricket Ltd
His life has always been about determination and conviction that if you set your mind to it, nothing is impossible. There is an obvious but massive distinction between sight and vision. Despite being born blind, Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar became a visionary, refusing to blink in the face of adversity and today presides over a trust for the disabled and a sports body promoting cricket for the blind.
Mahantesh was born into a loving, extended joint family which made sure that lack of sight was no impediment to the young lad’s development as a person. Like all Indian kids of his age and of that and subsequent generations, Mahantesh was hooked to cricket. The transistor became his best buddy, and not merely because live television had not yet taken deep root in India.
While he could have coasted through life cocooned in the warmth and affection of his family, Mahantesh was keen to make a difference to the community at large. His move to Bengaluru to pursue education was to prove a massive game-changer. He came in contact with people willing to go out of their way to help him in his endeavours. It was a lesson well learnt, for as he grew in stature, Mahantesh embraced that very trait of selflessness.
Channelising his massive love for cricket into organising tournaments for the visually challenged was a huge exercise often thwarted by bureaucratic red-tapism that is such an integral part of Indian society. Again, falling back on people skills and his extraordinary managerial capabilities, Mahantesh found a solution to every problem with no little support from his best friend as well as mentor, the late Nagesh.
Feeding off each other’s enthusiasm and drive, the duo founded the Cricket Association for Blind in India, under whose aegis the national team participated in global tournaments. Despite a constant scramble for funds, they managed to host World Cups for the Blind in India, not merely raising the profile of the sport but also reiterating to the blind that a physical disability not of their own making should be no impediment in chasing their dreams and translating them into reality.
In keeping with his propensity to move out of his comfort zone, Mahantesh looked beyond merely cricket and the blind. That was the genesis of the formation of Samarthanam, a trust under whose umbrella come people with disabilities of different kinds. Samarthanam doesn’t just offer people livelihoods; it also teaches them valuable life-lessons and instils in them a sense of self-confidence and self-esteem, driving home the point that when life throws lemons at you, you can so easily make lemonade out of them.
Today, if Mahantesh finds himself in the enviable position of rubbing shoulders with the rich and the powerful, it’s only because of the path he charted out several decades back. Few people are blessed with the desire to make a difference, fewer still have the drive and the enterprise to give shape to that desire. It just goes to show that, if the intentions are noble and the body, mind and spirit are willing, the sky's the limit.
A blind cricket player, Mahantesh founded CABI, which trains blind cricket players to compete in India and internationally. He mentored the men's Indian Blind Cricket team which placed 1st and 2nd in the T20 World Cup in 2012 and 2017, 4th and 5th in the ODI World Championship in 2014 and 2018,
The Asia Cup in 2016, Bilateral Series 2018 and Triangular Series in 2018 are the blind cricket series won by the Indian team under Mahantesh's leadership.
WORLD BLIND CRICKET LIMITED
Mahantesh was elected twice as the President of the World Blind Cricket Limited. As president, he was able to encourage young players to pursue cricket as a career. Mahantesh advocated for the further development and increased recognition of blind cricket all over the world.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS : A Journey Against all Odds.
2010 - National Award for Child Welfare by the Ministry of Women & Child. Development, Government of India.
2010 - NDTV Spirit of Sports Award for lifetime achievement for contribution in the fold of sports against the odds.
2013 - Winner of 15th NCPED Shell Helen Keller Award.
2014 -National Award for Child Welfare in the institution calegory.
2017 - National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
2018 - CavinKare AbilityAward for Eminence.
2018 - CBC-TV18 India Business Leader Award for Outstanding Contribution to Brand.
2019 - Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence.
2019 - Finalist for the Namma Bengaluru Award under the Best Citizen of the Year category.
2019 - Open-Republic TV Award under the Special Jury Mention- Category.
2019 - NAB Sarojini Trilok nath Award
2020 - Rotary Karnataka CSR Award for category - Implementation of Excellence in Skill Development and Livelihood.
2020 - The Indian Psychiatric Society - Karnataka Chapter at its 30th Annual Conference E-KANCIPS bestowed the IPS- KC Distinguished Service Award
2020 - Honorary Doctorate by the Brampton international University.
2020 - SABAL Awards felicitates individuals for bringing positive changes in the life of PwDs.
2021 - Chanakya Award for Global Indian of The Year Award.
2021 - 66th Kannada Rajyotsava award by the Newspaper Association of Karnataka.
2021 - Sandesha Awards for Excellence in the field of Culture & Education by Sandesh Foundation.
2022 - GC Surana Transformation Leadership Award at GCS Conclave.
2022 - Honorary Decorate for humanitarian contributions to society through sports from Kuvempu University from the Chancellor of the University and Honourable Governor of Karnataka, Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot.
2022 - Sevan Dharmik Award from Latha Raja Foundation Hyderabad in recognition of humanitarian contributions.