Alankar is a 21-year-old down-syndrome boy and he is adorable. He unknowingly and innocently teaches us the little things in life which actually make a big difference. Words can’t explain the smile that comes on his innocent face by participating in the events of Special Olympics. Even today when he passes by the event locations he recalls moments from his participation and looks forward to more of them. Apart from his personal growth, the way society looks at him has changed- Aakriti , his sister
When he was born, doctors in Jammu back then were not aware enough to diagnose his condition. His condition was diagnosed when he continued to stay sick at the age of six months. His parents were informed that he would be a slow learner academically. They took that with a pinch of salt. It did not take too long for them to realize that the extra chromosome made him extra precious to them.
Alankar is so happy with people around him. Every day when his father gets back from office he prepares tea for his father. He is quick to pick up a conversation with strangers, as long as they approach him with a ‘smile’
Alankar went to the primary school till the age of 12 but started to dislike the idea of going there. His teacher could not give him the special attention that he required. As he could not keep pace with the other students his teacher would let him stay isolated. Although unable to explicate his experiences of school, he managed to convey his displeasure and hesitation to attending it.
Since he joined Special Olympics, at the age of 15, he has been very particular about his gyming regime. He gyms for three hours nearly every day. He has his work- out room equipped with the cycle, weights etc. in his house that keeps him busy. In April 2018 he participated in Athletics at a regional meet held in Jammu where he won a Gold and a Bronze medal.
I could just see the difference and could get the vibe of what my brother was going through when I saw him stand on the victory stand. He felt so confident and worthy of himself. Certainly, it created a difference in his life. It made him feel proud and joyous of his achievements, independent and significant. – says Aakriti
Special Olympics provided a platform for his talent and willpower to be seen by so many people. These opportunities have boosted his morale. Special Olympics has given him and his family a ray of hope for a rewarding future” says his father, Mr Avinash Gupta
Alankar came in touch with a music teacher through one of the Special Olympics events held in Jammu , a year back. Ms Avtar Kaur started to train him, helping him discover a latent talent of playing the harmonium. He seems very happy playing it and plays it for long. The interesting thing is that he shares this passion for music with his State Area Director – Dr Ashwini Jojra. The State office has a room which has this instrument and thus manages to keep Athletes like Alankar occupied all the time.
Alankar’s mother Ms Anu Gupta avers “It is the society’s responsibility to recognize, spread awareness and look after untreated physical and mental health conditions faced by children with intellectual disability. To encourage openness and acceptance in all societies, honest commitment by mentors, families, volunteers, and communities is required. Alankar’s life before and after Special Olympics is quite a contrast. Sports has given him better health and fitness. He is fortunate to get a chance to unveil himself and initiatives by Special Olympics empower special children to make their ordinary lives extraordinary.”
Seeing the improvement and confidence in their son has given his parents a hope. They dream higher for him. They wait for the day when their son would represent India on a world stage