Rio Paralympics, a significant moment for Indian sports - My Take
October 17, 2016
I find myself in a special position as I am part of a movement that is leading a change in Indian sport.
Thanks to a wonderful opportunity from my organisation, GoSports, I was at the Paralympics in the role of a cheerleader and reporter. Eleven of the 18 athletes from our Para Champions Programme had qualified for the Games. I went there to support them.
The role that our organization has played in winning the medals is inspiring.
Deepa Malik won the silver medal and it was a joy for us to be able to bring her personal trainer Vaibhav to the Rio Games.
Devendra Jhajharia improved his 12-year old world record using javelins that we had funded!
Archer Pooja, a kabaadiwala's daughter, used equipment that was bought by our team.
Swimmer Suyash Jadhav swam his personal best in all his events - his improved timings could be a result of the nutrition programme he had been following for the past 6 months.
Amit Saroha missed out on a bronze medal, but he coached several other athletes who made it to the final team. I was grateful that we had been able to support him with access to a mental trainer to help him focus on his sport.
At the end of the Paralympic Games, India won four medals while narrowly missing out on medals in many more events. Back home, there is lots of work to be done.
Hundreds of Indian para athletes have to spend their life's savings to travel and qualify at international events!
We at GoSports Foundation have a long way to go, and we hope to support the fantastic work done by the Sports Authority of India and the Sports Ministry in setting up the disability sports ecosystem.
Rio has been a significant moment for Indian sport. The athletes' performances at the Olympics and Paralympics are only the beginning.
About the Writer
Deepthi Bopaiah, is Executive Director at GoSports Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation working towards the development of some of India's most talented emerging and elite athletes, competing in Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.GoSports works with some of India's top junior Olympic and Paralympic talent, through athlete scholarships and knowledge building programmes.
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