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Special victory on national stage

- City-based differently abled athletes win basketball meet for Jharkhand

Differently abled hoopsters have done the state proud by bagging gold at the Special Olympics National Basketball Championship held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from May 21 to 25.

Jharkhand boys defeated their Andhra Pradesh counterparts 16-14 to emerge champions in Group B. Earlier, the outfit had prevailed over home team Gujarat to clinch a 16-10 win.

The six-member state outfit comprised Anurag Chakravarty, Abdul Shaquib, Md Shaban, Sudhanshu Poddar from Asha Kiran, Tejinder Singh from Jeevika and Ian Xavier, who is not enrolled in any special school.

Rajesh Prasad had accompanied the boys as mentor. The winning side will return to the steel city on Tuesday.

Jharkhand Special Olympics area director Bailey Bodhanwala has congratulated the team for the superb show.

Expressing happiness, assistant area director Satbir Singh Sahota said the boys had put in a lot of hard work during the weeklong training camp in run up to the national meet. “We had conducted a short training camp at JRD Tata Sports Complex. Hard work has yielded results. We are very happy with our boys’ performance. We’ll give them a warm welcome when they return on Tuesday,” he added.

When asked why the state side comprised only of Jamshedpur-based athletes, city-based mentor O.C. Ashok Kumar said other districts were not represented as parents did not send their wards for the camp. “We had sent notices to other districts for attending the camp. But, parents did not send their wards because of the scorching heat. Otherwise, the state outfit would not have been represented by Jamshedpur cagers alone,” he added.

Kumar added that the state unit of Special Olympics was gradually spreading its wings in other districts.

“Jamshedpur boasts of better facilities in comparison to other cities in the state. But, we have already started organising sports activities in Seraikela-Kharsawan, Ramgarh and Hazaribagh. The exercises will be repeated in Bokaro and Dhanbad among others. There is no dearth of talent in Jharkhand,” he added.

Kumar also thanked coaches of Tata Steel Basketball Training Centre for their support in training the boys.

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