Bangladeshi teen in wheelchair hired as eSports parathlete

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Rahat MD Majidul Hossain gives a shout after his eSports high school club successfully completes a play in Nagoya on 8 Oct. Photo: Asahi ShimbunA computer game company has offered a job to a third-year high school student from Bangladesh who overcame a language barrier and found an activity he could excel in from his wheelchair, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

The Asahi Shimbun is a national newspaper in Japan.

According to the daily, Rahat MD Majidul Hossain, 18, will be employed as an eSports parathlete after he graduates.

He is currently a member of the eSports club at Aichi Prefectural Johoku Tsubasa High School.

On a recent day, five male members of the club were gazing at their computer screens in the middle of an empty room, says the Asahi Shimbun.

Rahat, a third-year student, offered words of encouragement, saying, “We’re counting on you,” and “You’re doing great.”

Rahat has been using a wheelchair since the age of 3, when he was injured in a car accident in Bangladesh.

Rahat MD Majidul Hossain gives a shout after his eSports high school club successfully completes a play in Nagoya on 8 Oct. Photo: Asahi ShimbunUnable to find a school in his home country that could accommodate his wheelchair, Rahat studied under a private tutor, it adds.

He came to Japan 10 years ago because of his parent’s work and attended an elementary school for the first time.

However, he could not understand Japanese and started his school life communicating in basic English.

His first encounter with Japanese games came when he played Puzzle & Dragons on a smartphone that he borrowed from his father, the Japanese daily adds.

When he was hospitalised for a month for an operation on his leg, he became further absorbed in the gaming world by playing a PlayStation Portable console that his mother bought for him.

As a junior high school student, he played wheelchair basketball as part of his rehabilitation. He dreamed of joining the basketball club, but he could not make the team.

“It was impossible for me to do such a thing,” he said.

Instead, he played videogames at his friend’s house.

Rahat entered the high school in spring 2017. But since the school had just been established, it did not have any clubs in its first fiscal year.

In summer last year, the school’s principal, Satoru Kaneko, 58, established an eSports club for the students.

Rahat’s friends asked him to join the club.

In the semi-weekly club activities, the members play the popular online game 'League of Legends', in which a group of five help each other invade an enemy’s territory.

The members all said that their intense concentration on the game made them extremely tired.

The five third-year students decide which roles to play and devise a strategy based on their research on rival clubs at other schools before a competition.

Rahat MD Majidul Hossain gives a shout after his eSports high school club successfully completes a play in Nagoya on 8 Oct. Photo: Asahi ShimbunRahat now speaks Japanese fluently and has a part-time job as a telemarketer.

“Rahat inspires others in the club,” said Yuya Suzuki, a 32-year-old teacher who serves as the club’s adviser. “Sometimes he cheers up other members or is scolded because he gets carried away.”

After one club activity, Rahat talked with his classmates as they moved down a hallway. When they neared a staircase, the three students carried his wheelchair.

Rahat said, “Thank you.”

Helping each other has become natural for the young gamers.

“I was able to continue because my teammates have been with me,” Rahat said.

In October, he received the full-time job offer from the Nagoya company, which develops and sells online game software, after it knew about the school’s eSports club. As a parathlete, one of his task will be to participate in eSport-related events held by the company.

The last competition of his high school days started on 23 Nov.

“eSport is a place where I can show off my skills,” Rahat said. “I hope that it will become more and more popular toward the future.”

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