The Boy with a Dream
Tashriq Parker, a young man from Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, has always been determined to represent his country in rugby. Despite being hearing-impaired since age one, Tashriq’s dream is now coming true as he joins South Africa’s Deaf Rugby Sevens squad.
The 23-year-old grew up watching rugby with his grandfather, who inspired him to one day wear the green and gold of South Africa. Tashriq’s journey has been far from easy, facing numerous challenges and obstacles, but his resilience and hard work have paid off.
A Beacon of Hope in Bonteheuwel
In a community where it can be difficult to find role models, Tashriq’s accomplishment has been welcomed with affection and esteem. He is proud to be an example for young people who wish to follow in his footsteps.
His mother, Nadeema Parker, shares her joy at her son’s success, highlighting the difficulties they have faced, particularly financially. Local ward councilor Angus McKenzie praises Tashriq’s determination, emphasizing that his story proves anything is possible regardless of background or disability.
The Road to the World Deaf Rugby Tournament
Tashriq’s selection for the National Deaf Sevens Rugby team was a surprise after participating in a training camp in Pretoria. However, despite his initial doubts, he impressed the coaches and secured his team position. The Deaf World Cup in Argentina later this year will mark South Africa’s first appearance in a World Deaf Rugby tournament since 1995.
Tashriq has endured 16 procedures to recover his hearing throughout his lifetime partially. However, he has succeeded in numerous sports, including sprinting and the decathlon, due to his athletic ability. His running skills and quickness made him the ideal option for the Deaf Sevens team.
Despite his challenges, Tashriq maintains a positive attitude: “Disability doesn’t define you; if you really wanna do what you want, you thrive and sacrifice regardless of anything.”
A Future for Tashriq Parker Beyond Rugby
Although representing South Africa at the Deaf World Cup is a significant milestone, Tashriq has set his sights even higher. He dreams of one day being scouted for the Stormers and establishing an organization for people with disabilities in his community.
Tashriq’s life is an inspiring example of how hard work, dedication, and faith in one’s dreams can pave the way to their realization. Inspiring those close to him and those far away, he prepares to represent South Africa on the international stage proudly.