March 24 2017

Four young athletes from SOS Children’s Villages India compete for medals at the Special Olympics 2017 in Austria

With great passion and tireless dedication, four young women from India reached one of their dreams and represented their country at the Special Olympics Winter Games 2017.

A dream has come true for Kiran, Vidushi, Diksha and Dulfisha from SOS Children’s Villages India: they represented their country at the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017, held from 14-25 March in Austria.

Kiran (19), Vidushi (17) and Diksha’s (19) team came in third place in floor hockey. Dulfisha (19) competed in the floor ball games, where she was one of the highest scorers of all female floor ball players. “I achieved this because of my SOS mother, who always helped and supported me,” explains Dulfisha in between games at the Special Olympics in Graz, in southern Austria.

This sentiment is echoed by the other young women, who emphasised that their motivation is to show that through sport, they can achieve more than people without disabilities and to make their families proud – and to make themselves proud!

These inspiring young women all share a special connection: from an early age, they grew up in SOS families, who supported them in becoming the skilled athletes they are today. Through sport, they have developed self-confidence and athletic skills, as well as the determination to succeed and to represent their country.

“Kiran, Vidushi, Diksha and Dulfisha have made all of us at SOS Children’s Villages India feel a very strong sense of pride! We are delighted that four of our children have embarked on a journey to make their dreams come true,” said Anuja Bansal, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages India.

Dedication and a determination to succeed

Kiran came to the SOS Children’s Village Khajurikalan in November 2016 as a baby. Her SOS mother recognised and encouraged her talent – and encouraged her to enter the Special Olympics programme. Kiran began playing basketball, but soon discovered her love for floor hockey. She pushed to go further and to participate in the Special Olympics, training “day and night” for the opportunity.

Vidushi has been living in the SOS Children’s Village Khajurikalan since August 1999. Her favourite sports are floor hockey, soccer and swimming. “SOS Children’s Village encouraged me to play lots of sports,” she laughs.

Diksha came to the SOS Children’s Village with two siblings at the age of three. She shares how she started training for the Special Olympics: “I always loved playing as many sports as possible with my SOS siblings and friends, then I realised how much fun I had playing sports and wanted to go further and further.”

Dulfisha was seven years old when she came to the SOS Children’s Village in Jaipur. From the very first day, she played passionately outdoors and participated in all school sports events. “I played in one small state competition, then a bigger one and a bigger one, and now I’m here!”

They are really enjoying their time in Austria, especially as there are so many new things, so many new people and a completely different culture. They have made lots of new friends, they explain, and have learned so much from watching the other games.

Diksha, Kiran, and Dulfisha won the Bronze Medal for India in Floor Hockey at Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 and Vidushi was awarded Best Player of Floor. Photo: Nicole Hillgruber
The proud members of the Indian Floor Hockey team with their bronze medals. Photo: Nicole Hillgruber
Vidushi for being awarded Best Player of Floor Ball. Photo: Nicole Hillgruber

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