The Indian contingent for the 2019 Special Olympics, which is currently taking place in Abu Dhabi, is atop the medal tally with 30 gold, 33 silver and 32 bronze medals in events ranging from roller skating, powerlifting to table tennis. Such is the versatility of Team India. But, who cares, right?
The fact that 19-year-old powerlifter Manali Manoj Shelke failed thrice, redetermined her resolve, and finally succeeded in crossing her hurdles with just a little bit of persuasion by her coach, will mean absolutely nothing to us in not more than a couple of days when the Indian Premier League (IPL) begins.
Special Olympics athlete Manali Manoj Shelke shows us what a true athlete is pic.twitter.com/H2XkzIHnux— Athlete Swag (@AthleteSwag) March 15, 2019
All the effort put in by the young prodigy will be clouded by the fireworks of cricket, the sport that has achieved 'celebrity status' in a nation which takes immense pride in the diversity it possesses.
No hate towards the “gentleman's game” though. The game has led to providing a living (a very luxurious one at that) for a lot of athletes, giving deals worth lakhs and crores of rupees to these players, some of whom have not even played a single game at a noteworthy level.
But that's okay, right? In some days, names of Special Olympians like Supreet Singh, Rishabh Jain and Priya Prakash Gaba who, despite their disabilities, brought home the greatest laurels that they could, will be nothing more than a Google search.
Hey, if they are lucky enough, maybe their names will appear in one of the questions in the next season of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. Who knows?
Who remembers Ranvir Singh Saini, the athlete diagnosed with autism at the age of two, who became the first Indian to win the gold in a golfing event? Who can recollect the memories of the powerhouse of a sportsperson in Phoolan Devi, who bagged yet another gold medal in powerlifting (bench press) not too long ago at the 2015 Special Olympics 2015 in Los Angeles, USA?
Four days of mild to no news coverage and maybe a couple of retweets about how they have made their country proud, that's all they are worth. That's exactly what they had signed up for when they stopped feeling sorry for themselves and took up sports in this country.
But, they are no cricketers so, obviously, they have no legacy.
They are not worthy of well-documented stories to tell the future generations, but who cares?