Successfully reaching the finish line amongst the first 200 out of 8128 racers in an open 10 thousand category of Marathon, in an impressive 51 minutes & 27 seconds was Santosh Kumar an Athlete from Special Olympics Bharat- Karnataka. This is Santosh’s sixth participation in the 10 k Marathons since 2008.
The Special Olympics contingent of 79 athletes and 58 escorts also participated in the Champions with Disability Category of 4.3 km run.
An athlete by training Santosh won a Silver medal in the 3000 meters race and the 4th place in Half Marathon at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011 in Athens, Greece.
A remarkable feat for a young boy with intellectual disabilities and with a fractured femur at the age of 11 that left him with little possibility of ever walking again.
Santosh fell victim to asphyxia at the time of birth, recovering from it through an emergency medical intervention.
Consequently his speech did not develop till the age of 5, after which he started speaking following Speech therapy at the Institute of Speech and Hearing. Wheezing problems and dust allergy frequently landed him in emergency care in hospitals.
Unable to cope with studies beyond class 5, an IQ test was conducted which concluded him to be with an intellectual disability. Santosh joined Ashankura, a special school, through which he joined Special Olympics.
Exposure to various sports competitions and training routines at Special Olympics created and further enhanced his interest in sports. Santosh’s grit and diligence took him through a tough training regime despite his severe limitations. He practices for a minimum of an hour daily at the local stadium near his residence preparing to participate in the first ever Asia Pacific Regional Games 2013 in Newcastle, Australia.
To quote his father, “Santosh’s achievement in Marathon has inspired me to get closely involved in Special Olympics activities and train as many athletes as possible and help them excel in their sport. I am sure that the Special Olympics training I had in Advanced Coaches Training, Train The Trainer Program, Games Management System and the Diploma in Special Olympics from RMV University may encourage many parents of athletes to make marked difference in their life through Special Olympics”