Spe­cial chil­dren par­tic­i­pate in sports gala

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Union Ministry of Youth Af­fairs and Sports in part­ner­ship with Spe­cial Olympics, Bharat, or­gan­ised games for spe­cial chil­dren in the ground of Su­nil Chougule Sports As­so­ci­a­tion in Airoli on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

Around 200 stu­dents from 16 schools of har­bour zone (be­tween Chem­bur and Pen in Raigad district) par­tic­i­pated in dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions. The win­ners will be sent to the state-level tour­na­ments to be held in the end of Septem­ber in Mum­bai.

“All the ath­letes who came here are ei­ther in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­lenged or hear­ing im­paired. They par­tic­i­pated in games like 50 to100 me­tre runs, re­lay race, shot put, soft ball throw, long jump among oth­ers. We also had group games,” said Anu­radha Jata, prin­ci­pal of Sulbha Spe­cial School, who is also zonal co­or­di­na­tor of Spe­cial Olympics. Around 200 stu­dents from 16 schools of har­bour zone took part in dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions at Airoli.

The stu­dents were ac­com­pa­nied by their school teach­ers and train­ers. Some par­ents also came along with their kids.

“We had par­tic­i­pants start­ing from eight year olds up to 22. We had con­ducted some abil­ity tests on Tues­day and based on the re­sults of those tests dif­fer­ent groups were formed for

in­di­vid­ual games. For the team games like kabaddi and bocce, we took only those stu­dents who were above the age of 12,” said Sukanaya Venka­tra­man, prin­ci­pal of Swami Brah­manad Pratishthan, in Belapur.

“Such spe­cial chil­dren nor­mally face chal­lenges in co­or­di­na­tion in games and sports. How­ever, they are trained for such ac­tiv­i­ties in their schools and with good train­ing they re­ally do well. Par­tic­i­pa­tion in such com­pe­ti­tions also boosts the stu­dents’ con­fi­dence,” she said.

Each of the 16 schools of the har­bour zone sent 12 ath­letes to the com­pe­ti­tion. Of 200, 150 par­tic­i­pants were in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­lenged and the re­main­ing 50 were hear­ing im­paired.

“Af­ter the state-level tour­na­ments, stu­dents will go to the na­tional level and then the in­ter­na­tional games. But peo­ple do not know much about the Spe­cial Olympics. By im­part­ing train­ing to such stu­dents, we are not just pre­par­ing them for the big­ger games, we are also try­ing hold col­lab­o­ra­tive com­pe­ti­tions with nor­mal ath­letes,” Jata said.

Surekha Asai, a Kharghar res­i­dent said, “My son Kaus­tubh is par­tic­i­pat­ing in bocce here for the first time. He is mainly ob­sessed with com­put­ers. But this time he ex­pressed his will­ing­ness to play this game.”

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