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Hockey gets special help

The big break has finally come for Tushar Das, after years of special exploits with the hockey stick.

The 21-year-old Jamshedpur lad has won a berth in the national floor hockey squad for the 10th Special Olympics World Winter Games, which is scheduled in PyeongChang, South Korea, from January 29 to February 5, 2013.

Tushar, a student of Day Care Centre, is a classy player who got an India call on the basis of his performance in two training camps conducted by Special Olympics Bharat (SOB) — a national organisation working for the mentally challenged — in Shimla (February) and New Delhi (August) this year.

“He is a good mover on the court and his selection in the Indian squad is a very positive news for us. The youngster never lost patience and remained confident that someday he would represent his country,” an extremely glad Satbir Singh Sahota, assistant area manager of the Jharkhand unit of SOB, told The Telegraph.

Sahota said Tushar would be attending the final training camp in Shimla from January 3-9. The youngster is, currently, slogging out under his trainers Raj Kumar Singh and Avtar Singh at JRD Tata Sports Complex.

“The boy is a hard worker and wants to further fine-tune his skills before attending the Shimla camp,” Sahota added.

Tushar was part of the 13-member Jharkhand squad that took the crown at the national floor hockey championship in Shimla in 2010.

Besides Tushar, three other players — Rajiv Singh, Purshottam Singh Dev and Krishna Verma — were also shortlisted for the national camps.

“But only Tushar made the cut. Two of our coaches, Raj Kumar Singh and J.N.M. Raju, also attended the camps,” Sahota said, adding that they were hopeful of a stellar show from the special athlete in South Korea.

Tushar’s father Narayan Das, a resident of Sitaramdera, was ecstatic as news of his son’s selection reached him.

“I was informed about my son’s selection from the Jharkhand unit of SOB on Friday evening. I am very excited that Tushar’s hard work has finally been rewarded. I wish him the best,” Das said. He added that his son was mentally challenged from birth.

Tushar will join Vijay Mishra, Achal Gourav, Anita Kumari and Rajiv Singh in a select list of Jamshedpur-based special athletes who have represented the country’s floor hockey squad in the World Winter Games.