CHENNAI:Special Olympics Bharat Tamil Nadu Chapter is all set to send 12 intellectually challenged children to participate in the Los Angeles Games, which is held once in four years. S Sundararaj, Minister of Sports and Youth Welfare, felicitated the participants at the Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium on Friday.
“I wish you all the very best and success,” said the Minister. “It’s a great initiative to nurture hidden talent. We are always there to help such noble causes that bring them on the same platform as others,” he added. They will be seen participating in the 2015 LA Games, which will be held from July 21 to August 1. The selected children from the State suffer from intellectual disorders like Down Syndrome, autism, etc. They come from special schools run in Coimbatore, Tiruchy and other parts of the State. The children will be competing in events like cycling, basketball, handball and other games.
“They are already national-level players in their fields. So, this wouldn’t be tough for them,” said an optimistic Paul Devasagayam, area director of Special Olympics Bharat Tamil Nadu Chapter.
The organisation has received over 12 lakh applications, of which only 331 have been shortlisted, along with their coaches. Out of the participants from the entire country, 12 special children are from Tamil Nadu. They will be seen competing with special children from 180 countries.
“We have been waiting for this day for long. We keep organising such games now and then. This only boosts their performance and helps them carve an identity,” said Paul.
The students were shortlisted after training in four camps across the State. The 12 participants will be leaving to LA on the 20th with their five coaches. Before that they will be trained for four days in Delhi.
Salman Kabir, an 18-year-old national-level cycling champion with autism, seemed all excited about the game, “I will do my best,” he said.