The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has turned out to be a dream fulfiller for Mohamed Aasim, who had been keenly waiting to attend the international event for long. Better known as Aasim Velimanna, the Indian boy, suffering from 90% physical disability, attended the inaugural match in addition to the Saudi Arabia - Argentina and Portugal-Ghana matches. Known for his determination and the ability to inspire, Aasim also met Ghanem al-Muftah, the Qatari icon, who shared the World Cup opening ceremony stage with Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman.
“I am grateful that my dream came true and I could meet Ghanem al-Muftah while sharing the experiences and plans. I want to help and reach out to the children like me while trying to improve their lives,” Aasim told Gulf Times. Asim along with his father Saeed Yamani was received at al-Muftah’s residence at Al Wakra on Saturday.
Aasim got the opportunity to watch the World Cup through a sponsorship after he expressed his wish during an event of Generation Amazing, the flagship FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 legacy programme, which he inaugurated back in Kerala.
“I wanted to come to Qatar upholding and spreading the messages of the Aasim Velimanna Foundation while meeting people and attending events,” he said. Upholding the motto 'embracing the inclusive excellence,’ the foundation functions to promote social engagement and social equality to all children, as well as children with disabilities, and to shape a community educationally.
Aasim, who wants to be a social activist, works to materialise his dream of inclusive education and excellence.
The 15-year-old boy from Kozhikode district of the southern state of Kerala, was born without hands, one leg impaired, jawbone crooked, and having problems with his teeth, mouth and hearing. While moving about on a wheelchair with the help, Aasim has added several achievements to his credit.
Earlier this year, he swam across the Periyar river in Kerala after two weeks of training, scripting an inspiring story. He is often invited to empowerment and excellence programmes across Kerala where he delivers speeches.
Aasim has won several recognitions including the Inspiring Indian Award 2018 for his indomitable spirit as he campaigned to upgrade his school, the Ujjwala Balyam Award 2017 for his exceptional achievements in social activities and the Unicef Child Achiever Award for his achievements amid difficult situations in life. He was the International Conference on Parallel Processing (ICPP) 2021 finalist.
In Doha, Asim attended various events while sharing his ideas and experiences as a young activist.
Aasim Velimanna at a World Cup stadium in Qatar.
Aasim Velimanna with Ghanem al-Muftah