Sports – catalyzing social change

Sports – catalyzing social change

 “Bihar has tremendous potential, we could’ve won, had technology supported us better. The pandemic too played its part. The set-up was right, the camera was fixed and the pitch was prepared. Covid 19 raged in a matter of a couple of days, and a lock-down announced a day before, made everything futile. Notwithstanding, from being around the bottom of the score board, we managed to scale the 6th position finally, and that is an achievement”– Says Mr Sandeep Kumar, Area Director – SO Bharat- Bihar. It was an uphill task to explain the families and even neighbours about the skills, counting and logistics of the event. Many, familiar with Cricket, could not understand its virtual execution. Everything had to be virtual as the lockdown was uncompromising.

Dheeraj has, over the years shown exceptional confidence. He got married soon after returning from the LA Games 2015. He assists his father in running the fabric store, engagingHe got an opportunity through his school to join Special Olympics in 2009 and exhibited a strong sporting potential. He participated in multiple sports including, Athletics, Football, Cricket, Cycling, floorball, and could be seen growing into a determined and a confident Athlete. Transformation started to unfold as he travelled for sporting events. Being a small town, the word spread and Dheeraj became a hero who travelled and represented the country at global events. His medals and popularity saw him featuring in the news and he began to be accepted and respected. The police escorted him as he returned from international events.   The silver line is that all the eight players enjoyed thoroughly. They held the bat and the ball and Cricket happened. The event turned the spotlight once again on the Champions, now staying concealed in their day-to-day lives. Dheeraj Kumar, 33 yrs, represented India in Football at the Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles, USA in 2015. He participated in the Special Olympics South Asia Unified Cricket Tournament held in Dhaka, Bangladesh as well. Belonging to Dulhin Bazaar, located in the fringe of Patna, the Capital of Bihar, his childhood memories are those of being called ‘Pagal’ (Mad) and also ‘Manhoos’ (ill-omened) and being shoo-ed away by his neighbours and relatives. He remembers being driven away from the door many-a-times when he requested his relative to watch TV.

actively in the day-to-day sales and even whole sale purchases. He has two siblings, a sister who is married and a younger brother doing engineering. He even offered his brother a job at the fabric store, promising him a higher salary!

For Dheeraj, Sport means an opportunity. He takes it with all seriousness, a sharp focus and vows to himself to do his best. Once he is a part of a sport, he plans his own strategy and suggests to the Coach as well. He has been mentored by Sandeep himself. Sandeep recalls an incident, when Dheeraj felt that he was unable to run fast enough, he suggested to Sandeep that he should be given a chance in long jump.

Sandeep has involved Dheeraj in many events, as an Athlete leader as well and he inspires others to come up. Dheeraj is very dependable and is committed to any task delegated to him. Although Dheeraj is not as fit as he used to be, but the virtual Cricket event has once again sparked ‘sports’ that was lying dormant within him for a while now.