On day 8 of the Rio Olympics, India is still seeking a gold medal despite the fact that this time, 118 sportspersons represent us. True, some of these sportspersons have just begun their competitions, so there’s still hope. But let’s face it, it’s hard to keep the faith.
So perhaps it’s time to look back on past glories in a completely different Olympics organised for sportspeople who are disabled in some way or another. Specifically, the 14th Special Olympic World Summer Games 2015, held in Los Angeles, in which the Indian contingent of 275 competitors returned with 173 medals – 47 golds, 54 silver and 72 bronze. This medal tally was a significant rise from the 13th Special Olympics, held in Athens, when the Indian team returned with 156 medals (56 gold, 48 silver and 52 bronze).
The elated Aquatics Team from LA
Seven of the team members in 2015 came from the Delhi-based Asha Kiran Home and bagged three golds and four bronze medals.
On 4 August, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out the performance of Ranvir Singh Saini who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and created history by becoming the first Indian golfer to won a gold in the Games.
Modi also mentioned 21-year-old Sneha Verma from Navi Mumbai who has Down’s Syndrome and bagged a gold in the 50m freestyle event (swimming), while Phoolan Devi won the first gold for India in power-lifting (bench press).
Whatever happens by the end of the Rio Olympics, whether we bring home a gold medal or not, it’s important to remember this: Many of our fellow citizens have already brought us golds. Let’s not forget their contribution to Indian sport at this time.
Feature Image Credit: telangananewspaper.com
Read more from our Rio series here
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