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Special Olympics: Indian athletes make the nation proud with 73 medals, including 37 golds, in Winter Games

India ended their campaign at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria with a whopping 73 medals, 37 of them gold.

 Special Olympics: Indian athletes make the nation proud with 73 medals, including 37 golds, in Winter Games

India's Shubham Singh is given his medal by Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo courtesy: GEPA pictures/Special

Competing against 2,600 athletes from over 105 countries, the Indian contingent was represented by 88 athletes — 43 male and 45 female. Apart from 37 gold medals, the Indians also won 10 silvers and 26 bronze medals at the event which included seven disciplines: alpine skiing, floor hockey, floorball, snowboarding, snowshoeing, figure skating and speed skating.

The event has always been a happy hunting ground for Indian athletes. At the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015, Indian athletes won a total of 173 medals, including 47 gold, 54 silver and 72 bronze medals. Four years earlier, India had won 156 medals (56 gold, 48 silver and 52 bronze medals) at Athens.

The Special Olympics comprise a group of athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The competition is held every two years, alternating between the Special Olympics World Summer Games and the Special Olympics World Winter Games. This year, the Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Austria, which in 1993, became the first country other than the USA to host it.

According to a report in The Times of India, India accumulated 30 gold medals through floor hockey (men’s team), unified floorball and traditional floorball. Meanwhile, 10 medals, including three gold, three silver and four bronze came from the alpine skiing discipline. Snowboarding fetched India a further eight medals — four gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Athletes participating in snowshoeing also fared well with a total of five medals including two silver and three bronze. Speed and figure skaters collected four medals with three silvers and a bronze.

Among the most notable performances from athletes was that of Punjab native Shamsher Singh, who won India's first medal at the event, and went on to bag another, finishing with a silver and a bronze in snowshoeing. Himachal Pradesh's Megha won India's first gold in alpine skiing, with the 20-year-old following it up with a silver.

Upon their return to India, the athletes were felicitated at an event where Olympic bronze medallist boxer Mary Kom, bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal and ace shooter Heena Sidhu were present.

The mega event saw participants from countries from all corners of the world, including Burkina Faso, Iceland, Dominican Republic, Syria, St Lucia, to name a few.

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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2017 17:47:04 IST