India opened their account at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, on Thursday, claiming a silver and a bronze in bocce — a sport especially designed for athletes with lower abilities.
The competition at the Jiading Stadium, on the outskirts of the city, saw India’s Kuldeep Singh Negi slug it out against Wai Shing of Hong Kong in the final. Sharat Kumar won bronze. “We could have come up with better performances but the classification of athletes cost us dear. Both Sharat and Kuldeep ended up playing each other in the first and second round,” said coach Mohammad Aizaz Akhter Siddiqui
Asked if the loss left the athletes dejected, Siddiqui said, “Sports gives them a high and they enjoy the feeling. Sharat is still under the impression that we are not competing here and it is just practice. Kuldeep is a little upset after losing in the final, but maybe the medal ceremony will cheer him up.”
Bocce is played on a 60 feet long and 12 feet wide court and the objective is to roll the bocce, a 4.20 inch ball weighing about three pounds, as close as possible to the pallina, a 2.5 inch ball which is rolled down the alley first.
The bocce coming closest to the pallina scores a point. Twelve points constitute a game. The event helps athletes improve their judgment of distance and hand-eye coordination.