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Differently abled athletes create history in Abu Dhabi: Best ever tally of 368 medals won in Special Olympics

India's best performance was in powerlifting, where Indian athletes won 96 medals. Roller skating was the sport which brought the second-best tally of 49 medals.

India scripted history as it finished with an impressive 368 medals at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2019 at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Special Olympics 2019, which is held once in two years alternatively between the Summer and Winter Olympics, are organised to celebrate the sporting endeavor of athletes with disabilities. The 2019 Special Olympic was held from March 14 to March 21. India’s medal tally included 85 gold, 145 silver, and 129 bronze medals. The Indian contingent that took part in the Special Olympics 2019 comprised of 284 athletes.

PM Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian athletes who have brought glory to the nation.

Indian won its maximum number of medals in powerlifting category with athletes clinching a total of 96 medals, which includes 20 gold, 33 silver, and 43 bronze. The Indian contingent had participated in various sports categories like- athletics, golf, volleyball, aquatics, cycling, judo, powerlifting, table tennis, roller skating, badminton, basketball traditional, handball traditional and football 7-side female and secured medals in all these sports.

Women athletes have made the country proud not only with their participation but also by winning medals in various sports events. 18-year-old Anu Chennekota from Andhra Pradesh won her maiden Special Olympics World Games gold in the 16-21 years’ division-3 category in table tennis. Sabita Yadav, from Goa, won a singles gold in the division-4 category while Reshma Shaikh clinched a silver in the same event.

Another athlete, Muskaan has won gold in deadlifting, a silver each in squat and bench press, and also a bronze. Santoshi Vijay Kauthankar from Goa won four silver medals in the female category (Judo), while Priya Prakash Gada from Maharashtra also won a silver in the 100-metre roller skating event. 19-year old Manali Manoj Shelke from Maharashtra won a gold in a combo of three in powerlifting and a bronze too.

After powerlifting, India’s second best performance was in Roller Skating with 49 medals including 13 gold, 20 silver, and 16 bronze. In cycling, India bagged 45 medals with 11 gold, 14 silver, and 20 bronze. From track and field events, India has won 39 medals with 5 gold, 24 silver, and 10 bronze.

It was also the first time India participated in Judo and Futsal winning 3 gold medals, 1 silver, and seven silver medals respectively.

This was India’s ninth appearance at the event, which takes place every two years. With a vision of treating all athletes equally, the Special Olympics event offers a chance to individuals with not just physical but also intellectual disabilities to compete in any sport. The next Special Olympic Games are set to take place in Sweden in 2021.

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