Cricket brought back the same passion and determination in Tarun , an Athlete from Karnal, Haryana, as he experienced in 2017 when he participated in Floor Hockey in the World Winter Games in Austria in 2017. Sports gives him space to grow, enjoy, get aggressive (as well) and feel empowered. He celebrates his participation irrespective of the outcome, as he did at the Virtual event.

His parents, both, have an Intellectual Disability. He connects very well with his father, who was present at the session on the day of the competition. Tarun was seen guiding his family members to set the frame, wickets etc. Later when his father was asked a question, and was unable to answer, Tarun helped him to do so. Tarun is a student of the Viklang Shishu Kendra , Karnal.

The Coach of the Haryana team, Sanjeev, also a special educator and a sports teacher with the Little Angels School, Sonipat, trained the players. While doing so, he too learnt a new strategy; initially, although facing a dilemma. while a click helped him reach out to all his Athletes, which was convenient, training them threw challenges. His left side would project a mirror image for“Seeing so many states participate we did not want not to, although we did not know how would we participate, during lockdown. Eventually we found a way. The last three- four years, through the Unified School programming has witnessed a stronger network and a rapport with the Schools. This event gave us another opportunity to leverage this partnership. We went to these schools.  It was very motivating to see the presence of the Principals ,of all the schools that had their students playing for Haryana, on the final day.”  Says, Mr Virender Kumar, Area Director- SO Bharat Haryana. He recalls an Athlete who insisted on participating despite both his parents having tested Covid positive. There was participation from the districts of Sonipat, Karnal and Rohtak, from Haryana the Athletes causing confusion, the net connectivity many a times would prevent a clear sound; while the Coaches effortlessly mark the field, here the parents had to be explained all the details. While all the practises were carried out at home, the school made arrangements for the three Athletes, also students of the school, to perform on the final day. Permission was granted as the module was compliant with the Covid 19 protocols. This was an individual-skill event and did not have a team perform, not bringing the Athletes within close proximity of each other.

We have been involving our special students in online therapies and consultations, and that has really increased their concentration. Being part of the Virtual Cricket event made me so happy to see that sports could be done virtually too. I am thankful to the SO Bharat team. We held video sessions with the families. I even observed our students vis-à-vis the others to see the areas where we can improve and learn from others. We have already started working on those linesMs Sonia Arora, Principal, Little Angels Inclusive School, Sonipat

The school demonstrated immense excitement in being part of the event. They designed creatives describing the four skills which featured the event, highlighting the three students of the school who were part of this event, where getting a team of eight together was also a challenged attempt

 Says Sanjeev, “To get any Athlete started, to have him begin with Cricket is the best way of igniting an interest. I too remember that when I did PG Diploma in Sports, the first day, first session, kicked off with Cricket. It gripped us instantly and held our interest. The course taught

us how, it is not just the game on the field but so many other sporting recreational activities that can be executed with the Athletes. This event is a great learning. I will always use the lessons learnt here to have the Athletes do a skill, and be sporting fit outside Camps as well. We are set to make a great Cricket team”.

(Sanjeev joined SO Bharat – Haryana as a volunteer in 2015 while he was a student of the Arpan College, Rohtak. He went to complete Post Graduation at the Special Olympics, Ramakrishna Mission, Vivekananda University Coimbatore, in 2018)

Special Olympics World Games


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