Eight athletes from Punjab will take part in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, going to be held in Los Angeles, US, from July 25 to August 2.
More than 7,000 contestants with intellectual disabilities from around the world would compete in various sports events. India will be sending a delegate of 320 athletes, coaches and officials to LA. The opening ceremony would be held at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the site of 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games.
The selected eight were given a send off by Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna from the state office of Special Olympics in the civil lines here on Thursday.
Area director Paramjit Sachdeva revealed that two coaches would accompany the players. "It is a great occasion for the children to display their talent. Having practised through four camps, they are braced up for the world competition," Sachdeva said. He revealed that the state athletes would take part in athletics, cycling, roller skating, power lifting, handball and basketball contests.
Those selected for the prestigious games include Jaswinder Kaur of Fatehgarh Sahib, Meera and Pawandeep Singh from Ropar, Rajvir Singh from Ludhiana, Ajinkya from Jalandhar, Tara Singh from Nawanshahr, Shalu and Dolly from Amritsar.
Khanna motivated the players to do well in the forthcoming world competition and hoped that they would bring laurels to the country. He said the Union government would give cash awards to the medal winners in the World Olympics. Gold medalist would get `5 lakh whereas silver and bronze medal winners would be given `3 lakh and `2 lakh respectively, he revealed.