Fighting all odds, 18-year old Poonam, who suffers from mild retardation and lives inside the Pingalwara premises, made all proud as she was named as one of the probables in the national floor hockey squad for the World Special Olympics to be held in Austria in 2017.
During a visit to Pingalwara, authorities said she performed better than eleven other girls who participated in the national floor hockey championship for women at Solan.
“She will undergo further training at camps, but, I think, she a sure chance in the team. It will be a proud moment for Punjab,” says Simranjeet Kaur, special educator and her trainer.
Poonam joined the Pingalwara family at 12. She is an orphan from Patran in Patiala district and despite being a special child she has made a name in sports, including power lifting, athletics, cycling and basketball and floor hockey. Along with Simranjeet, special educators Anita Batra and Padmini Shrivastav have also trained Poonam. “Her physical strength is better than other special children and here at Pingalwara, we put in a lot of time to understand the strengths of every inmate and train them accordingly,” share the trainers.
Raju has a chance, too
Along with Poonam, 19-year-old Raju Rajinder (goal keeper), has been selected in the national floor hockey team for the world winter Special Olympics to be held in Austria in 2017. He was just 4 when he became a part of Pingalwara family. He participates in cycling, basketball and cricket. As a reserve, he was also selected for Special Summer Olympics in the year 2015 in power-lifting. For Austria ticket, he still has to participate in a few more national camps, befor final selection.