They are shining examples of the healing power of sports

The Olympics may be the pinnacle of achievement in sports but for four differently-abled Indian youngsters from Delhi, it’s the Special Olympics that will matter the most.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics are perhaps the only sporting event where participation actually matters more than actually winning.

For these four enthusiastic youngsters, it will be a time to showcase their sporting prowess. Nineteen-year-olds Shrey Chaudhary and Ranjan Jha will participate in cricket and table tennis respectively, Praveen Mailwal will play badminton and Akshay Vora has been selected in racing.

Shrey had issues with speech, socialisation, hyper activeness and mood swings. His hyperactivity was channelised successfully into sports at the State and national levels. “I feel I can do anything I set my mind to. I have learned that nothing is impossible, if we try our best and work at it,” he asserts. Ranjan, who suffered similar problems in speech and socialising, has won several medals in events organised by the Bharat chapter of the Special Olympics.

The 23-year-old Akshay won gold in badminton and racing at the district and State level to qualify for the Special Olympics. “I have participated at the national level and now I am eager to present my skills at the international level,” he says.

The oldest of the four, Praveen was a normal child till he started suffering sharp mood swings and refrained from interacting with anyone in 2008.

The same year he won 3 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals in various games organised by the Special Olympics Bharat.

Healing power

“I am excited to represent India in badminton and I will give my best in the match to raise the name of my nation,” said Praveen.

They may not be stars but in their own way these youngsters are shining examples of the healing power of sports.

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