Indian para athletes set to shine at Special Olympics World Games 2019 starting tomorrow in Abu Dhabi
India has sent an impressive contingent for the Special Olympics World Games that begin in Abu Dhabi on 14 March. The games will be held at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, and India's line up of para sportspersons has participants from across the country.
India will make its presence felt in 14 out of the 24 sporting events. This is the ninth time India has taken part in these games and the athletes have put in months of intensive preparation.
Many hopes ride on India's performance after the impressive show para athletes put up at teh Para Asian Games in 2018.
Shrey Kadian, Athlete, Special Olympics Bharat and a member of Special Olympics Asia Pacific Athlete Input Council (AIC) says the Indian contingent is confident of doing well at the games.
"I played for the first time in the softball game in the Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles 2015. I am happy to be a part of the Special Olympics Bharat. The facilities here at Abu Dhabi are well managed and we are looking forward to the start of the games", said Kadian.
These games are a prestigious event attracting the best of sporting talent from around the world. Over 7,500 athletes from over 192 nations are taking part in various sporting events. They will end on 21 March.
Among the sporting events are athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, golf, football, judo, handball, swimming, sailing, roller skating and tennis.
Among the Indian para athletes taking part are Abhishek Gogoi and Alankrit Gupta in cycling, Akansha Shantaram Mhatre and Ankita A in basketball and Ranveer Saini in golf.
Inclusive sports consultant Ekinath Khedekar, hopes that the Indian public will watch the games and cheer for the para sportspersons.
India's 2015 performance where it got third rank with 173 medals after the United States and and China was the most successful campaign on world stage but very few took note of it in our country. Even this time we expected over 400 athletes to represent India but only 289 have made it there. I am quite sure this is on account of lack of funding. I hope the Special Olympics will promote a better understanding of people with varying degree of intellectual abilities. - Ekinath Khedekar, Sports Consultant