Nepal wrap up Special Olympics World Games with three medals in LA

Los Angeles, August 2

Nepali players wrapped up the Special Olympics World Games with three medals after Indra Sharma bagged silver on the final day of competition here at the University of South California today.

Sharma finished second in the long jump with a distance of 2.75 meters. He advanced to the final after he covered the distance of 2.47 meters in the preliminary round. Earlier, Sharma had finished fifth in the 200m race with the timing of 38.27 seconds, while he also participated in the 4X100m relay race.

Sharma said he felt like a star player in the World Games. “I had once gone to Chitwan, said Sharma, who hails from Butwal. “Coming to America and performing in front of so many people is an awesome feeling,” he said. “Now I will continue with the sport. I have gained a lot of confidence from this outing as I saw so many people who have Intelligence Disabilities in this meet,” said Sharma, who gave up his studies after he could not continue after 10th standard.

Gold medallist Ashish Deuja said he learnt a lot of things from the Games. “Now I know many things, from table manners to how to talk nicely with others,” said Deuja, a resident of Lalitpur. Deuja, who won gold in Unified Football with Team Hope, also participated in long jump and bocce. “I am feeling good and I also loved the environment of the Games and the place is also beautiful,” said Deuja. “My family always encourage me for sports and I also like to play different games including basketball and running,” he added.

Another medallist Pradeep Adhakari of Chitwan also earned the opportunity to carry the torch before the opening ceremony on April 25. “It was great when thousands of people clapped for me when I ran with the torch inside the stadium,” said Adhikari, who won a bronze medal in 200m race with the timing of 35 seconds. He also participated in shot-put and 4X100m relay.

“I had not gone anywhere in the past and coming to the US is good,” he said. “It was strange in the beginning but now it’s okay. But I am happy to see so many friends from around the world,” he added.

Deepa Niraula said she was amazed with the environment of the city. “I enjoyed the food here and the city is big and clean,” said Niraula, who hails from Kathmandu. Niraula participated in 100m, 4X100m and shot put events. “I love roaming around and we went to so many places including Disneyland and beach,” said Niraula, who quit studies after eighth standard. “There is an open space near my house and I go there to play with friends. Everybody loves me and my parents encourage me to play games,” she added.

Another player, Monica Karki from Pokhara said she was stunned by the beauty of the city. “The place is even beautiful than Pokhara,” she said. “This is my first time abroad and I enjoyed a lot,” said Karki, who participated in 100m, 4X100m relay and shot put.

“My siblings are educated and they have a better future. God has created a different me and I had to quit my studies as it was very difficult to continue,” said Karki. “But I am happy that I am loved by all.”

Special Olympics Nepal President Dr Jyoti Sherchan said the performance of the players was awesome. “We were able to win three medals despite being a small team. This is a proud moment for all of us,” he said.

Coach Ganesh Parajuli said the players were picked after going through different phases of competition. “We are fully satisfied with the team’s performance,” he said. Parajuli said he was more happy with the change of attitude of the players rather than the medals. “I am surprised by the way these players have started behaving. It’s a drastic improvement in players attitude and I think these kids will be able to demand what they need,” said Parajuli.

“The mission of Special Olympics World Games is different and as per the motto of giving opportunity to all, we send different players every time,” he added. “It helps in our campaign of raising awareness among the people,” said Parajuli. “The movement has brought a lot of changes and we believe people will become conscious one day,” he added.