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Six probables from Trichy for Abu Dhabi Special Olympics

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A total of six athletes with learning difficulties from Trichy district have been selected as the probables to represent India at the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2019. The selected athletes would be attending a six-day training camp in Haryana from March 24 to 29.
The emphasis on conducting sports events for those with learning difficulties has been increasing in the district and the athletes from Trichy, for the past few years, have represented the country in international events and won accolades.
In the 2015 Special Olympics World Games held in Los Angeles, USA, a Trichy-based athlete, Platni Maran, won a gold medal in 100 m running and a bronze in long jump. The 25-year-old got Rs 6 lakh in cash as awards from the central government, state government and other private organisations. "The financial aid helped me build a house for my family," Maran said proudly. He is now a regular at the state, national and international tournaments either as a participant or as an ambassador.
Special Olympics Bharat Tamil Nadu director J Paul Devasagayam claimed that Trichy is second only to Chennai in the number of participants in this category. "In Tamil Nadu, more than 1,75,000 people have registered under Special Olympics Bharat. Out of this, approximately 40% representation is from Chennai. Trichy has around 15,000 people registered for it," he told TOI.

Devasagayam also said that he expected almost all of the probable athletes from Trichy to be selected for Special Olympics 2019. "The coaching staff has done a good job and I expect all the six to represent India in Abu Dhabi," he said.
National sports trainer and district coordinator of Trichy for Special Olympics Bharat, A Saral Arockiamary, said that the participation of children and youngsters with learning difficulties in sports have increased significantly after 2008. "Earlier, only a handful of them, from a few special schools would participate in the events. But right now, almost every special school in the district have started taking sports seriously and are encouraging their students to take part in such events," she said.
According to district differently-abled welfare officer N Swaminathan, parents, who were initially hesitant to let their children into sports, have finally realised that allowing them to play is one way of empowering them. "This has enabled the number of such athletes in Trichy grow in the last few years," he said.
Speaking about the events that are conducted by the district differently-abled welfare office, Swaminathan said, "We regularly conduct awareness drives in special schools. Every year, several district level sports events are conducted for the athletes both by us and by the Sports Development Association of India (SDAI)."

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