India look to better 2013 performance in Special Olympics

Los Angeles: India would have their hopes pinned on the 242 differently-abled individuals who will be competing at the Special Olympics World Summer Games starting here today.

In the last Special Olympics World Winter Games at Pyeong Chang, South Korea, India bagged 46 medals – 13 gold, 17 silver and 16 bronze – from among 2,200 athletes from over 120 nations.

So the success has prompted the athletes to train harder and hope they can outdo their performance in 2013.

This year, more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from around 170 nations are going to compete in 25 different sporting disciplines which would include cycling, handball, power lifting, softball and volleyball, judo, powerlifting, tennis and various others.

The 10-day event is expected to attract a total of 500,000 spectators.

Every sportsperson sent for the Special Olympics have been picked through different championship held over the last few years, which also includes four vigorous camps around the country which made sure the athletes are best prepared for the Games.

Among the ones chosen to represent India are 12 athletes from Tamil Nadu. One of them is a 12-year-old kid from Madurai, Devi – a roller skater – who is also youngest in the list of players from India. She has also won a gold medal in the national championships in Delhi.

Even Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wished luck to a 10-member contingent from government-run Asha Kiran Home who were selected for the games.

“I wish you all the best for the games. I hope you do well and get gold medals for the country,” he said on the eve of the team’s departure.

The Indian contingent will be camping their base in the affluent neighborhood of La Jolla in San Diego, California.

It will be the first Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in the United States in 16 years.