Pacing to reveal the Champion
Lalita (16 yrs) was quite contented with her existence till she joined the Special Olympics program through the Ankur Special School , Korba, Chattisgarh, in 2012. Till then, for about 12 years her world was restricted to her hut which may not be noticeable, as it is a part of a cluster located deep inside the village. Her face which reflects different features decided that she should stay home, not play like the other children and not interact with people beyond her immediate family. Her parents and two siblings although understood her, stayed exhausted by the daily fight for survival focussed on labouring for their daily meals. Lalita never knew a better world.
She, however, responded very well to her new environment when she joined the Ankur Special School. She was immediately placed under the mentorship of Mr Nagesh Thakur, also a Coach with SO Bharat since (approx.) 2002. Although she was unable to study, she received training in looking after herself and in keeping her surroundings clean along with learning skills such as diya making, painting, candle making etc, envelopes, gardening
Sports infused some energy into her. She ran and felt happy. Her Coach observed a change in her, as her interaction with others increased as well. She has always been calm and cheerful, but now she got an opportunity to engage with people her age and also those like her. She now assists the school staff in taking care of other children.
Lalita participated in the National Championship (Athletics) held in Rajasthan in October 2016, after having participated at the district and state levels
‘The fact that she is preparing for a global level competition and travelling out of the country for it, has changed her parent’s perspective. They were not particular about attending the Parent Teachers Meeting earlier but now attend it regularly. They ensure that she comes to the school regularly so that she doesn’t fail her practises even a single day’, Mr Dinesh Chauhan, Program Manager SO Bharat Chattisgarh (also a Special Educator, Ankur Special School)
Lalita practises running along with other warm up drills in the morning at 5AM every day for an hour at the school grounds under supervision of her coach.
“When I run, I feel strong and that I should run fastest and go ahead of everyone. Special Olympics has given me a chance to move ahead and today I am participating at the ‘World Games’! At the games I want to win a Gold Medal, but my dream is to be able to support my family someday” Lalita
Lalita secured a fifth position in Athletics (100 mtrs and 200 mtrs) at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2019 held at Abu Dhabi , UAE