Gurgaon: State home minister Anil Vij on Wednesday met Haryana athletes participating in the Special Olympics World Games, which will be held in Berlin from June 17 to 24. A total of 12 players in the 198-member Indian delegation are from Haryana, of which six belong to the city.
The Olympians gathered at DAV Public School in Sector 14 on Wednesday, where Vij talked to the players and encouraged them to give their best at the tournament and make both Haryana and the nation proud.
Vij said, “Haryana constitutes just 1.3% of the country’s area but holds the honour of having about 50% of all medals that the nation wins at different world championships. Haryana alone can quench the thirst of the entire nation for sports medals, all thanks to the international-standard infrastructure here.”
He also announced that Rs 50 lakh would be given to Special Olympics Bharat to build a stadium in Daultabad for special athletes.
“The sports policies of the state government have been exemplary and athletes of other states also request their governments to opt for a similar route. Haryana has managed to bridge the gaps between requirements and availability for all sorts of sportspersons,” Vij said.
The delegation of athletes will be accompanied by 57 coaches and will participate in 16 sports. The Special Olympics are the world’s largest inclusive sporting event promoting recognition and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. Berlin will welcome 7,000 athletes from across 190 countries to participate in 26 sporting events.
Gurgaon’s Ranveer Singh Saini, a 17-year-old autistic golfer, is also part of the India contingent.
He won a gold medal for India at the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Saini has also bagged four gold medals at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Golf Masters and has been awarded the highest sports honour of state, Bhim Award.
Diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, Saini comes from a family of golfers.
“I want to make my parents proud through the sports they love. Although I also play football, swimming, horse riding and other games, golf is my favourite.”
Bhaktavar Saini, his mother, said: “He always says that all he needs to excel is his family’s support. We are always by his
side. I think that is his biggest motivation.”
The other special Olympians from the city include Neel Yadav (cycling), Rahul Aggarwal (golf), Rachna and Madhav Madan (swimming) and Lovelesh Sharma (tennis).