LA Special Olympics to host children from Delhi

Proud moment

LA Special Olympics to host children from Delhi

The Asha Kiran Home for Mentally Challenged Persons has good news to offer. The biggest facility for the mentally challenged in Delhi and in India, housing over 900 inmates, is now sending 12 of its residents to the World Summer Games – 2015. The inmates, selected and rigorously trained by international NGO, Special Olympics Bharat, will travel to Los Angeles, USA, where the event is scheduled for July 2015.

The children are gearing to display their sporting skills and tell the world that they aren’t lesser than anyone.

Special Olympics International was set up by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of former USA President, John F Kennedy, for the mentall challenged, on the lines of Olympics for the able-bodied and Paralympics for the physically challenged, in the 1960s. She felt that persons with intellectual disabilities must also be given physical training and the chance to show their prowess in sports. Numerous events have since been organised at the global level to support and encourage such persons.

“It helps demonstrate to the larger world – including the family and relatives of such persons – they are extremely strong and capable. It helps the mentally challenged gain back their self-esteem, build confidence, and the friendships they make at such events, stay with them for a lifetime,” says educationist Uma Tuli who was a member of the first governing body of Special Olympics.

Meanwhile, administrator at Asha Kiran Home, Dr BS Bannerjee, is extremely happy for the children training at a Special Olympic camp in Hyderabad right now. He informs Metrolife that inmates Seema and Patto have been selected for athletics, Matru for Softball, Kalyani for Volleyball and Cycling, Preeti for Volleyball and Basketball, Upender for Volleybal, Ratna, Arti and Rupali for Handball and Phoolan Devi and Sonakhi for Power-lifting.

“It has been a long journey. With the little training that we could provide them at the campus, we took them to the Jawaharlal Nehru and Thyagaraj stadiums, the Army Games Ground and wherever camps were being held by the Special Olympics Foundation. These children are very hardworking and devoted to accomplishing any task given to them. Last year, they got us 200 medals and trophies from different events in India. This year, the tally is 100 already.”

“Our children never come back empty-handed from any event,” the proud
administrator says.Apparently, the talented children were not able to participate in the sporting programme last year as certificates relating to their date of birth, place of birth, etc could not be located, leading to delay in arranging for passports. By the time, they could be made, it was too late.

Poonam Natarajan, chairperson, National Trust, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, says, “I just hope they don’t face any such hurdles this year. We are extremely proud of them and looking forward to their performing very well and bringing laurels for the country. If that helps change the attitude of people towards the mentally challenged, what can be better than that?” 

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