Goa's athletes poised to shine at the Berlin special Olympics

Their participation is already a victory for inclusivity
Victor R Vaz, the National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat, is the guiding force for special athletes.
Victor R Vaz, the National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat, is the guiding force for special athletes. Photo: Saisma Naik

A send-off ceremony was held at the Sanjay Centre, Porvorim, on June 2, 2023, to honour the remarkable achievements of 13 talented athletes and 10 dedicated officials from Goa who are all set to represent team India at the 2023 Special Olympic World Summer Games in Berlin.

This prestigious event, to be held from June 17 to 25, will witness these athletes showcasing their skills and determination in various sports, making their state and country proud in the foreign country.

Victor R Vaz, the National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat, is the guiding force for special athletes.
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The Goa delegation comprises six exceptional female athletes and seven talented male athletes who will participate in a range of events, including futsal (male), athletics (male and female), roller skating (female), basketball (male and female), judo (male and female), unified volleyball (male and female), and handball.

These athletes have undergone rigorous training under the guidance of their coaches and have shown tremendous dedication and commitment throughout their journey.

The release of the Special Olympics T-shirts at the hands of the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (4th from right).
The release of the Special Olympics T-shirts at the hands of the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (4th from right). Photo: Siya Chodankar

The send-off ceremony was graced by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Sports Minister Govind Gaude, Minister of Social Welfare Subhash Phal Dessai, National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat Victor R Vaz, and Secretary of the Office of the Commission for Person Disabilities, Government of Goa, Tahal Haaziq.

Victor R Vaz, the National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat, is the guiding force for special athletes.
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During the ceremony, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant congratulated the athletes, coaches and the Special Olympics Bharat Goa for their exceptional efforts in training these special athletes.

He lauded their achievements and highlighted how they have brought honour to the state. The chief minister also emphasised the importance of inclusivity and providing equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

The 23-member Goan squad all set to represent Team India.
The 23-member Goan squad all set to represent Team India. Photo: Siya Chodankar

The highlight of the event was the release of the Special Olympics T-shirts, symbolising the athletes' unity and spirit. The chief guest had the privilege of presenting these T-shirts to each athlete participating in the Special Olympics, further boosting their morale and motivation.

One of the prominent figures at the event was Victor R Vaz, the National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat. Vaz stated Goa's impressive record of 84 medals (32 gold, 20 silver and 32 bronze) at the previous Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2019 and commended their talent, determination and the immense potential they possess.

Victor R Vaz, the National Sports Director of Special Olympics Bharat, is the guiding force for special athletes.
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The story of the thirteen athletes representing Goa in team India is awe-inspiring. Geetanjali Ravindra Nagvekar, Gayban Mulla, Kajal Ashok Jadhav, Gayatri Keshav Faterpenkar, Siya Shivaji Sarode, Taniya Ulhas Usgaonkar, Asheef Malanur, Manfil Micheal Ferrao, Joel Presly Rodrigues, Francis Yakob Parisapogu, Venson Paes, Aman Samir Nadaf and Aslam Babajan Ganjanawa have overcome numerous challenges and shown remarkable strength and determination to reach this stage.

The athletes and coaches pose for a final photo before the send-off to Berlin in Germany.
The athletes and coaches pose for a final photo before the send-off to Berlin in Germany. Photo: Saisma Naik

As these athletes embark on their journey to Berlin, they carry the dreams and aspirations of a nation on their shoulders. Their participation in the 2023 Special Olympic World Summer

Games not only serves as a testament to their individual abilities but also symbolises the indomitable spirit of inclusivity and sportsmanship.

The people of Goa eagerly await the outcomes of the games with hopes of witnessing remarkable performances and inspiring stories that will further promote the importance of sports.

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