Monday, May 20, 2024

Special Olympics World Summer Games: Medals continue to pour for Indian contingent

On a day when the weather played spoilsport, an unabated downpour leading to cancellations and postponements of almost all outdoor events at the Special Olympics World Games 2023, India’s rollerskaters ran amok among the medals to keep the count rolling.

In the roller-skating arena, the Indian contingent added nine medals to the tally (3 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze). Among the gold medallists were Md Nissar (30m slalom) and Aryan and Abhijit, the duo part of the 2 x 100 relay. Roller skating has proven to be among the most fruitful of arenas for the Indian contingent and despite the downpour outdoors, they did not disappoint.

Judo proved to be another happy hunting ground for India on Friday. A day prior, Suhalia Parveen’s silver had helped India open its medal account in the sport. She was joined by two more medallists on the mat, 24 hours later. In the male Level 2 category, Prince Solanki won bronze, while Muskan won gold in the female Level 3 category. The latter won both her bouts comprehensively to bring home the country’s first gold in Judo at the World Games 2023.

The table tennis arena proved another fruitful ground for the Indian contingent, with three medals confirmed from the sport on the day. In an all Indian final, in the U21-D3, Vighnesh Lokeshwar Naik beat Gunocean Singh Bedi 3-1 to take home the gold. In the Women’s singles 30-D3 Alivelamma Gujjala ran through the field unbeaten to take home the gold. Over the course of four matches, Alivelamma dropped just one game, to dominate her way to the gold medal.

India’s brilliance in powerlifting extended to another day, with four further medals added to the tally. In the 93kg category, Anurag Prasad won three golds (squat, deadlift, combined) and one silver in the bench press. By the end of action on Friday in Berlin, India took their medal tally to 96 (Gold: 33; Silver: 37; Bronze: 25).

India’s Women’s Unified volleyball team progressed through to the final of the FA competition, beating SO Kenya 25-12, 25-16 to set up a title clash with the United Arab Emirates. Throughout the match India asserted their dominance, only wobbling a little with the finish line in sight. Once the victory was sealed, the relief exploded in the form of huddles, high fives and loud cheers from across the arena.

What goes up, comes down and unfortunately on the volleyball court, so it proved. The Men’s/Mixed unified team went down to Serbia in their semifinal, losing a close match 12-25, 25-20, 10-15. They will play the Republic of Korea in the bronze medal playoff.

With action in athletics, cycling, tennis and basketball cancelled and rescheduled for the next day, a huge number of Indian athletes will be vying for a medal in their events. In cycling and tennis, in particular, Indians will be in the fray for not just medals but the gold in different categories.

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