Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Special Olympics World Games: Golfers Ranveer Saini, Rahul Agarwal win gold by record-breaking margin

Ranveer Saini, Rahul Agarwal and Ankush Saha, who claimed a gold medal in the Level 1 Golf event, showed patience in bucketloads to win gold medals at the Special Olympics World Games 2023 as medal rush continued for India at the event.

Ranveer and Rahul played four rounds of golf (alternate shot team play) over four days at the Arnold Parmer Course in Berlin and were on the top of the leaderboard on all four days. They won the gold by a record-breaking margin of 18 shots.

Saini, one of SO Bharat’s most accomplished athletes has been integral to India’s success at the World Games. As a 17-year-old he won the first gold for India in the event at the Los Angeles Games in 2015. Eight years on he has not let up.

Diagnosed with autism at a young age, Saini started playing golf with the encouragement of his mother Bakthwar Saini, to help keep him keep occupied. It seemed a natural choice because Bakhtwar herself played the sport and Ranveer’s uncle Jeev Milkha Singh, is one of India’s greatest golfers ever. While the achievements have piled up over the years, his hunger has been proof that Special Athletes are a breed apart.

Saini’s gold medal meant India’s ever-burgeoning medal tally and four-day streak showed no signs of letting up. India added 21 medals to their overnight tally to take it to 76 (26 gold, 30 silver, 20 bronze) by the end of action on Thursday in Berlin.

In Judo, Suhalia Parveen won silver, to notch India’s first medal in the event at the Games.

In powerlifting, the medals came unabated, the sport has accounted for 20 medals already. V. Harish and Siya Sarode added four gold medals to that tally. The former won gold medals in the squat, bench press and combined events while the latter won gold in squat.

Not too far behind is roller skating with 17 medals. Angelina Mary Poussin, unlucky to miss out on a medal in the 500m, won silver in the 100m to get on the podium.

On the tennis courts, curiously and through a quirk of the draw, India’s Swaraaj Singh and Lovlesh Sharma faced off in the semifinals of Level X. Swaraaj won the encounter 6-3, 6-2 to progress to the final. Lovelesh will have a chance at redemption in the bronze medal match on June 23.

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