Special children participate in sports gala
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.”