New Delhi: In a grand welcome ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here, the Indian contingent was honoured by Special Olympics Bharat as it returned from a memorable stint at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 in Berlin.
Special Olympics Bharat athletes came up with their best performance at the Games, finishing their campaign with 202 medals (76 gold, 75 silver and 51 bronze).
The event took place in the presence of former President of India, Ramnath Kovind Ji and Minister of Ports, Waterways & Shipping and Minister of AYUSH Sarbananda Sonowal, Delhi MPs Manoj Tiwari and Gautam Gambhir, and Leader of Opposition, Legislative Assembly, Delhi Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.
The event started with a colourful and vibrant cultural show, which was followed by words of inspiration from the present dignitaries.
Motivating the athletes, the Hon’ble 14th President of India, Ram Nath Kovind said, “Our Indian athletes won 202 medals, with 76 Gold, 75 Silver and 51 Bronze medals at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023. It makes me elated that out of 202 medals, our daughters won 89 medals. This fact paints a picture of a happy India.
“As we move forward, I hope you all remember that your journey does not end here. Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 Berlin was a platform to showcase your talents and sheer determination. I am sure your victory here will motivate you to achieve more each day. Remember your nation stands behind you and you are never alone. We are proud of all our Special Athletes and their achievements will remain in our hearts and minds forever. Dream big, keep your targets high and never forget the unimaginable power inside you,” he said.
Member of Parliament and former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir said, “I want to congratulate all the 202 medalists who made the nation proud at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 in Berlin. At the same time, I also congratulate those athletes who did not win, as they represented a population of 140 crore people.
“In sports, we always talk about statistics and numbers. But as a sportsperson, I know how much effort and dedication is needed to represent a country. All athletes, whether they win or not, put in equal hard work behind the scenes. I believe we need to remove phrases like ‘Special Olympics’ or ‘Para Olympics’. It should just be ‘Olympics’, because all athletes put in equal hard work, be it any sport or event. As a former cricketer, I believe our nation will become a real sporting nation only when we celebrate all sports and athletes equally as much as we celebrate cricket and cricketers. I am sure, one day it shall come true,” he said.
After the encouraging words from the dignitaries, the athletes, along with Unified Partners and Coaches were presented with a token of appreciation on stage and were given a huge round of applause from the gathering.