Special Olympics a chance to change lives: Indian …

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India has sent the second biggest contingent to the Games with 387 athletes.

Special Olympics World Games is an opportunity to change many lives, a top sports official said.

Special Olympics Bharat (India) national sports director Victor R. Vaz is attending his 12th Games and said the sporting extravaganza has the power to transform lives of the athletes.

“We always strive to give our athletes high level of training. We aim to provide opportunity to every athlete. This movement isn’t about winning or losing but giving our athletes an opportunity to participate in sports. But we are far away from achieving it. We have to work very hard to ensure this happens. We need very strong support of NGOs and schools. The Indian sports ministry is helping us and sponsored this entire contingent,” he told Khaleej Times.

India is here with the second biggest contingent with 387 athletes. Vaz is confident his athletes can win 300 medals.

“We are looking at 300 medals. Every year we are improving out medal tally and we will do this year too.”

He said any special athlete after participating in Olympics find great acceptance in the society.

“You see sports changes lives. These athletes get more confidence to do things in their lives. After winning medals these athletes even start to get marriage proposals. Their parents and peers start accepting them with new recognition. They become acceptable in the society. When a person who is deemed failure returns with a medal whereas the abled ones can’t, that is an achievement. Special Olympics is all about changing lives.”

On personal note, he is happy to be associated with his 12th Games.

“I have been associated with Special Olympics from my school days in Goa. It was in 1991 that I first took the contingent to the US. I took a gap when I looked at the Goa movement. I rejoined from 2000 and attended all winter and summer Games making this my 12th one. I just want to see my athletes excel in lives,” Vaz added.

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

Ashwani Kumar


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