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Special athletes in high spirits Down Under

- Ten differently-abled individuals from Assam take part in Asia Pacific Regional Games

Guwahati, Dec. 2: Ten differently-abled individuals from Assam will be representing the country at the 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games of Special Olympics at New Castle, Australia, that were inaugurated yesterday.

The games will continue till Saturday and special athletes from different countries will be participating in these games that are organised by Special Olympics International.

Louis Nena, Uday Dutta, Anyatam Rajkumar, Lakshmi Kumari, Akriba Rehman, Anudhriti Saikia, Chandan Rajbonshi, Pinky Barua, Nilotpal Dutta and Rinku Kalita are the special athletes who will be representing the country at the Asia Pacific Regional Games in different categories of sports like bocci, athletics, aquatics and cricket. They are aged between 12 and 20 years.

To qualify for these international games that are held every year, all the 10 special athletes had represented the state at different national-level sports events organised by Special Olympics Bharat. These athletes are being accompanied by their coaches and three officials of the Assam chapter of Special Olympics Bharat.

“These 10 special athletes from the state will be representing the country at the 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games of Special Olympics in Australia. Initially they played for their respective districts and then at the state level. After winning in different categories of sports at the state level, they represented the state at the national level. The winners at the national level were selected to play at the international level. These special athletes will be competing for a title in bocci (a sport specially designed for differently-abled individuals), athletics, aquatics and cricket,” said S. Mazumdar, the programme manager of the Assam chapter of Special Olympics Bharat.

“These 10 athletes have received training during the different coaching camps organised by Special Olympics Bharat from time to time in the state as well as in different parts of the country. The athletes have performed well at the national-level sports events and we are very hopeful that they will return home as winners of the ongoing international games at Australia. This is not the first time that special athletes from Assam have represented the country at the international level. Their coming out as winners will also help motivate parents to encourage and offer all scope to their differently-abled children to develop their skills and excel in their areas of interest,” said Mazumdar.

To uphold the cause of the differently-abled, the state government will observe World Disability Day tomorrow by organising a daylong programme at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here. Assam’s social welfare and jail minister Akon Bora will be present on the occasion.

To mark this occasion, Guwahati Tea Auction Centre will also hold a grand charity auction to offer financial support to three organisations working for uplift of the disabled in the state. Moran Blind State, Vaani and Sishu Sarothi are the organisations that will benefit from this grand auction.