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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Special Olympics World Games: Silver medals infuses new energy in Pune’s Shaikh and Bandal

Hujefa Shaikh and Srushti Bandal won two silver medals each in Special Olympics World Games

pune Updated: Mar 28, 2019 17:00 IST
Jigar Hindocha
Jigar Hindocha
Hindustan Times, Pune
(Left) Hujefa Shaikh and Srushti Bandal are the students of Jai Vakeel Special School in Talegaon Dabhade.
(Left) Hujefa Shaikh and Srushti Bandal are the students of Jai Vakeel Special School in Talegaon Dabhade.(HT PHOTO)

Pune When it comes to roller skating -- Srushti Bandal and Hujefa Shaikh are too good with their speed which has helped them to earn two silver medals each in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi which concluded on March 21.

Bandal clinched silver medals in 500 metre and 1,000 metre respectively while Shaikh achieved silver medals in 300 and 500 metre race. The duo is suffering from intellectual disability since birth.

Total of 23 skaters participated from India who won a total of 49 medals which includes 13 gold, 20 silver and 16 bronze medals respectively.

Bandal and Shaikh are the students of Jai Vakeel Special School in Talegaon Dabhade.

Skating was started five years back at the school as an extra circular activity.

“It was started on experimental basis by our teacher Hemangini Ware. Many of our student like skating and they even perform skate dance. Hujefa and Srushti both are very good in skate dance as well,” said Nayna Dolas, principal of Jay Vakeel Special School.

“I started learning basics of skating in my school. Nayna Dolas is the reason for our success. She told us to get into skating,” said Bandal who is 15-year-old.

Bandal started school in 2010 and began her roller skating training in skill-based and need-based formats.

In school, students day start with animal therapy, laughter therapy and dance therapy. The school conducts an Individual Educational Programme (IED). The programme is decided according to students requirements and their goals are set.

Both the students – Bandal and Shaikh inclined towards sports through IED programmes.

“Every kid is trained differently. Our aim is to provide them with basic life set skills. We have a few kids who are very good dancers and even we have students who learn acting for drama activities. Patience is the most important factor to handle these kids,” said Nayna Dolas.

Observing Bandal and Shaikh showing good skills in skating, Dolas consulted Rahul Rane who runs LXT Skating Club in Kasarsai, a village near Hinjewadi.

“After consulting with their parents, I started sending them to train under Rane. We are thankful to them that he did not charge a single rupee to train them,” added Dolas.

For Shaikh, missing medal in 1,000 meters was painful.

“I am happy that I won two medals for my country. I was completely focused on my game and did not bother about what other teams players were doing,” added Shaikh.

“Shaikh is doing training at my club since 2012 and Bandal started training two years back. These children don’t get trained for the whole year, they come here for practice before their respective tournaments. For Special Olympics World Games they were training every day two hours since last one year,” said coach Rahul Rane.

Prior to Special Olympics World Games, Bandal and Shaikh had participated in district and national level tournaments before being selected for Special Olympics.

“Their selection camps for Olympics were conducted in Hyderabad and Delhi, both the skaters showed good performance in the camp which helped them to get selected for India,” added Rane.

“Life has changed for Hujefa, earlier people never used to ask about him but now everybody visits our home to meet. He is a star now,” said Shabhana Shaikh, Hujefa’s mother.

Srushti’s mother Manisha added, “My daughter has improved a lot in school. Earlier she was dull in speaking but now she speaks much better. I am happy for her.”

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 16:58 IST