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Rise up & applaud those shining against odds

- Special athletes give state heart-warming gift at Delhi nationals with 18 medals

The Special Olympics athlete’s oath says it all: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Jharkhand’s 14-member special athletes team wowed in both vows as 12 of them bagged 18 medals at the Special Olympics National Athletics Championship held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, from March 13 to 16.

Special Olympics Bharat, jointly with New Delhi Municipal Corporation and global entertainment company WWE, had together 650 special athletes, 150 coaches and 150 volunteers from 26 states for the four-day event.

Jharkhand finished creditably with five golds, 10 silvers and three bronze medals. Also, Ranchi was the clear winner, as 11 out of 14 participants and 15 of the 18 medals were from the capital district.

Lilavati Kumari from Prakash Kunj, Ranchi, opened the gold account for Jharkhand by winning the 50m and 25m sprints. Sushil Kumar from Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in Ranchi went for gold in softball throw.

Pankaj Kumar (Jeevika) and Mamu Rashid (School of Hope) from Jamshedpur picked up 100m sprint golds in different higher ability divisions.

Pankaj also notched up silver in the 4x100m relay.

Silver honours also went to Ranchi SSA student Khushboo Kumari who grabbed medals in 100m and softball throw. Her city mate Komal Kumari, who studies at Sri Jan Help School, Ranchi, also won 100m silver. Komal’s schoolmate Suman Kumari picked the 50m and 25m sprint silvers. Rekha Kumari and Rishi Kumar from SSA also won silver medals, the former in 100m while the latter in 200m and 4x100m relay. SSA’s Sushil Kumar also won silver in standing jump.

Among the bronze medals, Dinish Kumar from Ranchi’s Deepshikha bagged one each for 25m and 50m. Vishal Kumar of Sri Jan Help School, also Ranchi, won the third bronze for his state in 4x100m relay.

Now, state medal winners may make it to the national squad for World Summer Games in the United States in July, 2015.

Jamshedpur’s Pankaj (20), with Jeevika in Jamshedpur for the past four years, told The Telegraph he was extremely happy to have bagged national gold and silver. “Both medals gave me immense satisfaction,” the youngster, who makes candles and paper bags at Jeevika, said.

Tata Steel managing director and SOB state president T.V. Narendran and industrialist, social worker and SOB area director Bailey Bodhanwala have congratulated the special athletes.

“We are proud of our special athletes and salute their spirit. They really worked hard at the camp (in Namkum, Ranchi) under experienced coaches before the nationals and the results are for all to see,” said Satbir Singh Sahota, assistant area director, SOB state unit.

Are you inspired by this never-say-die spirit? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com