District Sports organized by SBP-Centre for Mentally Challenged

This article appeared in DNA  NAVI MUMBAI  |  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2012

Special children don their sporting colours
As many as 300 differently-abled students participated in the first such event in the satellite city
Srishti Shinde l BELAPUR

There are tons of sporting events in the city that attract a lot of talent; but Wednesday’s sporting extravaganza was indeed special. For the first time in Navi Mumbai, Belapur witnessed a brigade of differently-abled kids displayed their sporting talents at the district sports event organised by Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan, CBD Belapur, in association with the ministry of youth affairs and sports and special olympics. This 2-day event will end on Thursday at Rajeev Gandhi stadium, Belapur.

The event commenced at 10.30 am with the traditional march past flagged off the sports meet in the presence of prominent guests like SS Patil, the deputy education officer, SSA, Thane, LB Mahajan, the regional deputy commissioner social welfare, Mumbai vibhag, and the principal of Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan, Sukanya Venkataraman. This is the first time in the sports history of the city that this kind of a mega event has been organised for specially challenged.

The meet saw participation by as many as 300 differently-abled students (visually impaired, hearing impaired, orthopedically handicapped, mentally challenged, etc.) from 16 schools across Navi Mumbai, Raigad and Thane. Along with the host school Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan, other prominent schools like Aashray Special School, Sanpada; Bhartiya Manav Vikas Trust, Panvel, ETC- Education Training Centre for CWDA, Airoli; Helen Keller Institute, Mahape; Holy Cross Convent Special School, Thane; Shivshankar Shikshan Sanstha, Koparkhairane, etc. participated in this event.

The children competed against each other in various disciplines like athletics, aquatics and indoor games which included short put, softball throw, standing long jump, walking race, wheelchair race, 50 metres relay race, 25 metres freestyle swimming, table tennis and badminton. A new game called Bocce Ball was introduced and implemented in the curriculum for special children.

When principal Sukanya Venkatarama was asked about the importance of the sport, she said, “The game emphasises on improving the student’s grip, eye-hand coordination, concentration, etc. We had conducted a coaching camp on January 27 so that teachers and students become familiar with the sport.”

Chief guest SS Patil mentioned, “The plan of organising such an event for CWSN (Children with Special Needs) has been there for 4-5 years, this year we have been successful in doing it in Navi Mumbai. Right to Education is something that every child is entitled to and sports is a part of it. Hence, the aim of organising this event is to boost the morale of these children so that they can confidently compete with the normal kids.”

The smiles seen on the faces of these children was worth a million dollars. “Every child wanted to participate in every game and all of them are very much able for doing so. It’s a bliss working with them and giving them the platform since these kids deserve a lot more in life; and many of them are highly talented,” said Venkataraman, who has been serving the school for 19 years as a teacher and the past 6 years as principal. The event has been assisted by all sports fraternities across the city to give special children a taste of the sporting arena.