GREATER NOIDA: A special duo from Noida has done the city proud having raked in two silver medals of India’s total tally of 368 at the 15th Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Abu Dhabi, UAE earlier this month.
Specially-abled Khusboo Meena and Aarushi Sharma, both slow learners since birth, have not let challenges stand in their way. While Khusboo won the silver for her 200m sprint in athletics, Aarushi collected the silver medal for her skills in basketball. Noida was represented by three young women at the world games in athletics, cycling and basketball.
Aarushi, 22, is an athlete from Bulandsahar, Uttar Pradesh, who has been living in Noida for several years. “This is her first ever international event of such magnitude,” said Raman Rekhi, Senior Manager, Special Olympics Bharat. “She has won the second position in the event. She has made us proud and proved that nothing is impossible,” Rekhi added.
Aarushi’s mother is an Aanganwadi worker and her father is a farmer. The family of four survives on a monthly income of Rs 4,000. “Initially, when I sent Aarushi to a normal school, she would get punished by the teachers for not studying,” explained her mother Poonam. “We thought she was being difficult. But later we realized she was a slow learner. But today, she has come a long way. Hard work and perseverance followed after we admitted her in a special school in Noida. Today, her confidence and achievement gives us hope,” said the teary-eyed, proud mother who spends two hours every morning and evening in helping her daughter practice.
“The transformation that I have observed in Aarushi is tremendous; be it in sports or her personal development,” says her sports coach. “She has taken up vocational training, which could get her a job in the future,” he added.
Not to be left behind, 25-year old Khusboo’s achievement completely challenges her condition of an IQ below 70 that was discovered soon after her birth. Khusboo’s father, Rajkumar does odd jobs and barely manages to eke out a living. “Her early childhood was very de-motivating and intense,” said her father Rajkumar. “She joined Special Olympics Bharat almost 6 years ago. Since then she follows a strict regimen and is totally focused on beating all odds,” he beamed. She wakes up every day as early as 5 am to strengthen her skill under the guidance of her mentors and her mother, who is a homemaker.“I salute her spirit. She promised to make the Indian flag fly higher by winning a medal, and she has done so,” said Rohit Manchanda, her mentor and coach.