Indian contingent cross 50-medal mark at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 in Berlin -
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Indian contingent cross 50-medal mark at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 in Berlin

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Special Olympics Bharat had 55 medals (15 gold, 27 silver, 13 bronze) spread across five different sports — athletics, cycling, powerlifting, roller skating and swimming by end of action on Wednesday 

Neel Yadav won Bronze in 5 KM Road Race.

Khel Today Bureau 

BERLIN: It didn’t take long, a silver, then a gold, then two more, and a medal rush that has sprung into a life of its own, as the Indian contingent at the Special Olympics World Games 2023, passed the 50-medal mark on Wednesday in Berlin. At the end of the day’s action SO Bharat had 55 medals (15 gold, 27 silver, 13 bronze) spread across five different sports — athletics, cycling, powerlifting, roller skating and swimming.

The highlight of Wednesday’s medal rush came from swimming and cycling course, with India registering five medals in the pool (3 golds, 1 silver and, 1 bronze) and six on the cycling course (3 Gold, 2 silver, one bronze).

Neel Yadav in action .

The cycling event at the World Games is arguably among the most aesthetically pleasing, located as it is next to the Brandenburg gate — a landmark not just for Berlin and Germany but even Europe as a whole. The gate has survived and seen a lot of history, built by the Prussian Empire, withstanding both World Wars and then even surviving the division of the city itself. On Wednesday, India used the venue to mark a piece of history for themselves, every member of the cycling team winning a medal to bring back home.

Neel Yadav was the first to do so, his bronze in the 5km road race coming at the end of a period where most of his peers had missed out on a medal by close margins. Yadav’s medal gave the group confidence, and after the lunch break, reinvigorated, everyone of them came fully charged to make the most of the afternoon time trials. Shivani, Neel Yadav and Indu Prakash won golds in the 1km Time trial, while Kalpana Jena, and Jeyaseela Arbutharaj took home the silver.

In the pool, India’s medals almost doubled in number thanks to the exploits of the freestyle swimmers, Diksha Jitendra Shirgaonkar, Pooja Giridharrao Gaikavada and Prashaddhi Kamble winning golds, with Madhav Madan adding another medal to his tally (Gold, 25m freestyle) and Sidhanth Murali Kumar winning bronze in the 25m freestyle.

The SO World Games are not always about the medal or the colour of it though, and so it was obvious that perhaps the most heartwarming story would come not just because of a performance but the heart that went into it.

Sonepat lad Saket Kundu won silver in the Mini Javelin Level B, and in doing so, exorcised a longstanding grudge and fulfilled a wish that has seen him traverse different disciples to get to represent India at the world stage.

The Little Angels School student is a multi-sport athlete, who has competed in table tennis, figure skating and athletics at the National level. Among the probables for the 2023 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Kundu lost his chance to represent India when the Games were cancelled.

Shrugging his disappointment off he switched to athletics, to the mini javelin, an event that made its debut at the World Games in Berlin, and was selected after a gruelling camp. It wasn’t for nothing. His medal was the first India has won in the event, a piece of history in itself.

The Indian contingent will be in action across multiple sports on Thursday in Berlin, with several competing in finals across multiple events in Athletics, Golf and Cycling.

NOTE: Please find below the video highlights for the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 Day 2 and Day 3 in Berlin.

Special Olympics World Summer Games Day 2 and Day 3 Highlights.mp4

About Special Olympics & Special Olympics Bharat

Special Olympics Bharat is a National Sports Federation accredited by Special Olympics Inc. USA, to conduct sports and development programs all over India. Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education, and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Bharat is recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India as a National Sports Federation for the development of Sports for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. It is incumbent to inform that Special Olympics and Paralympics are separate entities wherein the former reaches out to Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and, the latter to those with physical challenges. SO Bharat has over 1.5 million Athletes registered across all the States and Union Territories of India.

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