When the children of his age are playing with iPads and mobile phones, Rajvir Singh, son of a labourer from this village, has won two gold medals in cycling events at Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, US.
Nearly 6,500 athletes from 177 countries participated in the games between July 25 and August 2. Rajvir’s father, Balbir Singh said: “There are rare occasions when a father is known by his son’s name. Today is one. The entire village is out singing, dancing and greeting Rajvir. He has made everyone proud.”
Sharing his joy with HT, Rajvir said he was looking ahead. “I want to get into running,” he said. “He has a silver medal in running at the national stage and now will take his performance to the international level,” said Balbir Singh, recalling how he did not have enough money to buy him a bicycle. “But my boy was destined to win, perhaps,” he said, “so a businessman donated him a professionalgrade bike that has helped him win medals for the country.”
A man who earns only Rs 200 a day cannot do enough for his talented son. He seeks government support. The 320-strong Indian contingent at the games, which included 230 athletes and coaches, won 173 medals (47 gold, 54 silver, and 72 bronze). SDM (East) Paramjit Singh, district sports officer Satpal Singh, district education officer (primary) Gurjot Singh, and other senior officials of the district administration welcomed the eight medal winners from Punjab. Special Olympics Bharat Punjab chapter chairperson Surinder Singh Ryait presented them with cash prize of Rs 1,100 each.
“Rajvir Singh has made the country proud by winning the 1-kilometre and 2-km bicycle race events in LA,” said SDM Paramjit Singh. DEO Gurjot Singh the Punjab education department would sponsor Rajvir’s training; education, diet and travel. Taranjit Singh (Nawanshahr), Pawandeep Singh (Rupnagar), Dolly (Amritsar), Meera Kumari (Rupnagar), Ajankaya Nikam (Jalandhar), Jaswinder Kaur (Fatehgarh Sahib); and Shalu (Amritsar) are others from the state to have won medals for India at these games.