Four-day Regional Sports Meet for Persons with Multiple Disabilities under way
CHENNAI: After two weeks of intense practice, Shiva Subramaniam can run 25 metres in 5 seconds.
Shiva, a student of Sathya Special School in Puducherry, is one among the 400 children participating in the four-day Regional Sports Meet for Persons with Multiple Disabilities that got under way here on Thursday.
The scorching sun bouncing off the white walls of St Joseph’s Engineering College, where the event is being held, could not dampen the enthusiasm of the children and their teachers.
Binu Verghese from Wayanad in Kerala, who won three prizes at a Delhi tournament, was all set to conquer this meet. Her teacher, Sister Josephine from Fr. Tezas Training Centre said that four students from the school were participating in walking, running and soft ball throwing events. These events are based on the ones held in Special Olympics, Paralympics and Abilympics.
The events have been modified slightly for persons with multiple disabilities, said Rajesh Ramachandran, a rehabilitation officer of National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD). He is also a member of Paralympic Association of India.
Pat for NIEPMD
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan, who presided, commended the efforts of the NIEPMD in organising the meet.
She said that the Central government planned to start medical insurance schemes for persons with disabilities for which the government will pay the premiums. The scheme would be started in 10 States, including Tamil Nadu.
As part of the Tamil Nadu government’s initiatives for persons with disabilities, the Early Intervention Centres were proving to be effective in helping children with disabilities to become self-sufficient in everyday activities, said Minister of Social Welfare Geetha Jeevan. She said that there were plans to open such centres in 10 more districts of Tamil Nadu.
State Commissioner for Disabled V.K. Jeyakodi said that a meeting was going to be organised by the Department of Sports of the Union government to discuss special schemes for persons with disabilities. This sports meet was a first in the whole of Asia, he added.
Multi-coloured satin flags lined the track where children from all the five participating States ran with the ceremonial torch.
The games then began in the spirit of the oath taken by Hudha from Little Hearts School in Tamil Nadu, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”