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Coach is the hero for shuttlers

Incredible feeling! For Dhiraj Sawant, right, and his wards, taking part in the Special Olympics is a victory in itself.

Incredible feeling! For Dhiraj Sawant, right, and his wards, taking part in the Special Olympics is a victory in itself.  

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Dhiraj says it’s been a life-change experience for him

We may be the land of P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and K. Srikanth, but for almost all the Indian badminton players at the Special Olympics World Games here, their coach is the hero.

“He is our everything, our God” said Rohit Nag, from Jharkhand and one of the Indian contingent’s strongest players, raising his hand above in sign language, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the venue for badminton and many other indoor sports of the Special Olympics World Games, here on Wednesday.

For coach Dhiraj Sawant, handling these players has been a life-changing experience. “It is a very different experience, my players are almost like family,” said Dhiraj. “Each one is different, with different ability levels, and you have to understand each one closely, give them specific training. And surprisingly, you learn a lot from them too. I learned the sign language from them, for many in this team can’t hear or speak.”

Just coming to Abu Dhabi is a dream for many, for it is the first international event for the shuttlers here. “This is a wonderful experience and I hope to return with a medal,” said Divyabharathi Elango, from Madurai.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:45:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/coach-is-the-hero-for-shuttlers/article26524664.ece

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