Athlete Gajendra finding words and confidence at Special Olympics World Games 2023 in Berlin -
SKF India and Special Olympics Bharat Gear Up for the Gothia Cup in Sweden. President of India unveils the Durand Cup trophies and Flags Off the Trophy Tour for the 133rd edition of the prestigious tournament. Gautam Gambhir appointed as Head Coach – Team India (Senior Men). I am honoured and excited to take on the role of Head Coach for Team India: Gambhir. India’s Para Athletes Ready to Shine at Paris Paralympics. BPCL PARTNERS WITH INDIAN OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION AS PRINCIPAL SPONSOR FROM PARIS 2024 TO LOS ANGELES 2028. Paris bound Indian athletes buoyant at Indian Olympic Association ceremonial send-off. Sports Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya visits NIS Patiala and encourages Paris Olympic bound athletes. Sports Minister unveils new AFI logo and meets Olympics-bound athletes in Panchkula. Indian Men’s Hockey Team for Paris 2024 Olympics: Goalkeepers: 1.    Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran Defenders: 2.    Jarmanpreet Singh 3.    Amit Rohidas 4.    Harmanpreet Singh 5.    Sumit 6.    Sanjay Midfielders: 7.    Rajkumar Pal 8.    Shamsher Singh 9.    Manpreet Singh 10.   Hardik Singh 11.   Vivek Sagar Prasad Forwards: 12.   Abhishek 13.   Sukhjeet Singh 14.   Lalit Kumar Upadhyay 15.   Mandeep Singh 16.   Gurjant Singh Alternate Athletes: 17.   Nilakanta Sharma 18.   Jugraj Singh 19.   Krishan Bahadur Pathak. Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev takes over as President of Professional Golf Tour of India. Indian Poker Player Santhosh Suvarna makes history, winning his second World Series of Poker bracelet and INR 45+ crore. JSW Group Opens Exhibition in Paris to Commemorate 100 years of India at the Olympic Games. Ꮪhubman Gill to lead India in Zimbabwe. India will visit Harare in the first week of July to participate in a 5-match T20I series against the hosts. India’s squad for T20I series against Zimbabwe: Ꮪhubman Gill (Captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Abhishek Sharma, Rinku Singh, Sanju Samson (WK), Dhruv Jurel (WK), Nitish Reddy, Riyan Parag, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar, Tushar Deshpande. Dronacharya Bhupender Dhawan’s student Ritesh Dogra creates history by winning the title of Best Lifter in the IPL European Powerlifting Championship 2024. 44th edition of ‘V.K. Pahuja Annual Swimming Statistical Bulletin’ released. Any T20 World Cup Match Can Change in an Instant Says India Legend and World Cup Ambassador Yuvraj Singh.

Athlete Gajendra finding words and confidence at Special Olympics World Games 2023 in Berlin

Share us on

 Gajendra, a shotputter and runner, was among the first Indians in the track and field events on the first day of the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin 

Khel Today Bureau 

BERLIN: The only complaint coach Sandeep Kumar has of Special Olympics Bharat athlete Gajendra is that he answers in monosyllables when not talking to his friends. A shotputter and runner, the 19-year-old was among the first Indians in the track and field events at the Hanns-Braun-Stadion, in Olympiapark on Day 1 of the Special Olympics Summer Games.

Gajendra grew up in Jahanabad, Bihar, in an Army family, surrounded by families engaged in physical toil to make ends meet. His father voluntarily retired almost a decade back, to spend more time with his son. No schools in the area had the capacity or the training to work with kids with his limited cognitive ability and reduced speech abilities. Hence, the family shifted Gajendra to Samarpan Special School in Patna, one associated with the Special Olympics Bharat programme.

Sandeep, a former para-gymnast who has represented India at the Asian Para Games in 2010, is the Area Director for Bihar, and spotted Gajendra very early on — mostly because of how his physique hid his innate shyness and inability to interact socially.

“To start off I asked him to come to my academy every day, and we would just run together, sometimes for an hour, sometimes more,” Sandeep says. “It was just running, but while running, I would talk to him and slowly, he would talk to me.”

The running was replaced by gymnastics, at first, and then seeing a natural strength and proclivity for strength-based sports, Sandeep taught Gajendra the basics of shot-put, but also asked him to do what came naturally to him.

Even now, Gajendra’s technique stands out from everyone else. At the Hanns-Braun-Stadion, in the sunshine, almost all the other athletes, turn and face the mark, built up some momentum by rocking back and forth, before launching the shot into the air. Gajendra turns away from the mark, showing his back to the launching area, cradling his shot in the crook of his neck, right until the last instant, when he turns and swivels with a sudden jerk to put it in play.

And then, on cue, he smiles for the cameras, even flashing a ‘V’ for good measure. The monosyllables may endure, but his shyness evaporates away on the playing field, a fact that everyone is keen to highlight when asked about him.

“I have been excited about coming to Berlin for a few months,” he says. “I’ve wanted to see what everyone has been talking about for these World Games, and so far, I can understand why everyone was talking so much about it.”

Having exceeded his quota of words for strangers, he walks back to his friends in the athletics contingent, and almost immediately indulges in laughter and high-fives, with them.

“Playing sport, just finding out the capabilities of his body has helped him really come out of a shell,” Sandeep says. “He used to be incredibly non-communicative, but now he even coaches the younger children starting gymnastics at the academy, and offers advice to people who come there for fitness. It’s a complete change. That’s what the movement is about actually.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.