Paramjeet , 24 yrs, brings a ray of hope to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. If selected, he would create history by being the first Athlete to represent Jammu and Kashmir at the Special Olympics World Winter Games. The Snow Shoeing probable was at risk of losing the opportunity of a lifetime, had he not received the support of the SO Bharat State Chapter and the Regional passport authorities. He did not possess a passport. He resides 40 kms from the Jammu, near to the politically disturbed international border in the remote village of Chak Prema; combined with a weak internet connectivity things become harder. Battling documentation, red tapism, distance woes and the ongoing pandemic, the persistent resolve of the State Area Director Dr Ashwini Jojra and his team made it happen! In an unprecedented move, the Passport office especially opened to do the needful, more so now, during the lockdown. Paramjeet received his passport within hours of applying for it. Mr Shil, the Regional Passport Officer, praised the determination of Paramjeet and wished him luck for the Kazan Winter Games 2022.
Paramjeet’s father is a poor labourer , an assistant to a plumber while his mother is illiterate and labours in the field. He has three siblings, a family that has six mouths to feed in all. Paramjeet has a learning Disability and has received training at Sahyog India, which is a special school. He started crawling at the age of 4 and was unable to stand before he turned 7. He has a speech problem as well. Seeing his younger sister walk earlier than him, got him heart breaking and insensitive remarks from his relatives and people staying nearby. His parents were very often ignored at public gatherings
To give him a secure future his father has opened a small kiosk that services and washes cars. His family has always been in debt that has very often caused them embarrassment. His growing years kept his parents on tenterhooks as he would often fall ill. They would then rush to the doctor, who too would ignore them. They would then have to wait anxiously for a few days before they would go back again. This, while people continued to crack jokes and pass derogatory remarks on them
During one of their regular surveys, team “SAHYOG INDIA” identified him in 2009 , also being the year when he joined SO Bharat. His sports journey began under the mentorship of Coach, Mr Sahil Badyal, who is a National Trainer with SO Bharat. Paramjeet has participated in Athletics , floorball, football, Bocce and Snowshoeing. His parents are very supportive of his sports participation as they have observed a significant change in his behaviour. Now, as he is preparing for the World Games and is excited that he will travel by air someday, his mother says, “ I can’t believe that my param has a chance to represent India, someone whom everybody neglected and rejected with stigma. I have forgotten all my miseries and pains.”
While his father says with relief that he can see a future in sports for his son. He is yet to get confirmed for the Games, but relatives who have got whiff of it have already started visiting them and treating them with honour and dignity.
“Paramjeet motivates us with his ability. I am sure, if selected he will bring laurels to the nation and to the UT of J&K and that will motivate more Athletes to steer away from isolation and join SO Bharat. I offer my sincere homage to Ms Eunice Kennedy Shriver for initiating a movement that has given wings to the special athletes and an opportunity to fly”- Dr Ashwani Jojra , President , SO Bharat – J &K