Winning accolades in every stream

Winning accolades in every stream

Not many are aware of the Special Olympics or the latent talent of the specially-abled people. But those who followed the ‘Special Olympics Asia Pacific Regional Games 2013’ held at Newcastle, Australia in December would know that specially-abled people are truly special. A host of them from Bangalore emerged triumphant at the games and spoke to Metrolife, along with their families, about the hard work that was put in for this victory.  

Kushal Duth, a 21-year-old boy with Downs’ Syndrome, trains for two hours a day and it was this dedication that helped him emerge victorious in the aquatics category at the games. He won gold in backstroke (50 metres) and silver in freestyle (100 metres). 

Says his mother Sudha, “He practises at the Basavanagudi Aquatics Club. He is also very good in floor hockey.” Kushal, a joyous boy who has given his secondary-level examination at the National Institute of Open Schooling, thoroughly enjoyed the opening and closing ceremony of the games. “The journey was very good and I really liked the place,” he smiles. Ask him about his ambitions and Sudha says, “He would like win more accolades in swimming and take part in the World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015.” An expert in computer and animation, especially Corel Draw and Photoshop, Kushal is looking for a job at present.

Another winner in aquatics from Bangalore was Jayanth, a 22-year-old boy with Downs’ Syndrome, who won silver in freestyle (100 metres). An employee of ‘Nitya Sadhana’, a vocational centre for specially-abled people, Jayanth follows a strict regime everyday.

 “Every Monday to Friday, he works from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. He practises swimming everyday from 5 pm to 6.30 pm,” explains his mother Malini. Jayanth also is an excellent dancer and trained at Shiamak Davar’s institute. “Once, Shiamak even called him up and congratulated him,” she exclaims. 

This was the first time Jayanth was taking part in an international event. His aim is to win more accolades in swimming and dance. “Though society looks at the specially-abled in a different way, it’s high time these talented kids are accepted,” Malini reveals.Santosh, a 23-year-old moderately-challenged boy, won silver in 3,000 metres and came fourth in the half-marathon at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens in 2011. He was the torch bearer for the Indian team in Australia this time. 

Despite suffering from a severe asthmatic attack, Santosh took part in 1,500 metres and 3,500 metres in Australia and came fourth and eighth respectively. He is currently preparing for the Karnataka Open School Exam. “He is up at 3 am and leaves home at 4 am to run ten to 12 kilometres a day,” explains Santosh’s father Ravindra Kumar, a reservation supervisor in the Indian Railways and a certified coach for specially-abled athletes. All this despite his right leg being a few inches shorter than his left, owing to a fracture! 

Santosh aims to make India number one in the field of athletics. “Going to Australia was a nice experience and I made a lot of friends,” he notes. Though Santosh has been a victim of bullying at times, it doesn’t bog him down. As Ravindra aptly puts it, “He wants his actions to speak.”

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