Punjab labourer’s son bags gold at 2015 Special Olympicshttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/sport-others/punjab-labourers-son-bags-gold-at-2015-special-olympics/

Punjab labourer’s son bags gold at 2015 Special Olympics

Waiting for professional cycle till few months back, laborer's son from Punjab is now Special Olympics double gold medallist.

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Rajvir Singh (R).

His father loading bricks and stones to earn two meals a day for family, 15-year-old Rajvir Singh from village Siar of Ludhiana, few months back was waiting for a professional cycle to practise for 2015 Special Olympics World Games that are being held in Los Angeles.

It was only in June — a month before the prestigious event that a Ludhiana based businessman donated a professional cycle to Rajvir. It was only during national camp that he had professional cycle to practice till June this year- else it was his old rusty cycle in village that he relied on to train for this mega event.

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On Friday, the whole village and his family erupted with joy as an intellectually disabled Rajvir won the gold medal in one kilometre time trial event ticking time of one minute and 54.51 seconds.

The second place in same event was also grabbed an Indian Ravi Kumar (one minute 56.5 seconds and third by Phillipe (one minute 58.53 seconds from Switzerland.

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However, his best was yet to come as Rajvir grabbed his second gold medal at Games 2015 by finishing first in the 2 km time trial event as well on Saturday.

Clocking time of 3 minutes and 11.70 seconds, Rajvir bettered second silver medal winner Agila Abdrba from Libya (3 minutes 39.32 seconds) and bronze winner Mariano Canche from Mexico (3 minutes 45.03 seconds).

Harjit Singh, his local coach cum teacher broke the news to the family and his father could not help but remember the days when he forced his son out of the bed in morning to practise.

“I had no resources, I could not even afford a cycle for him but I did what all I could. I would force him to practise and he would cry. I knew his mental health was not well but something had to be done to make him grow in life. I would make him run and in beginning his legs gave up after cycling a short distance but I did not give up. Gradually, he started enjoying cycling and my hope grew that he do something in life,” said Balbir Singh, father, who began his earlier coaching at home.

A student of Special Resource Center for disabled children at Government Primary School, the parents of Rajvir are still pleasantly shocked over feat of their son who till now does not know how to wear his clothes and shoes on his own.

Balbir Singh, his father further adds, “My son was not a disabled since birth. He got severely ill when he was around five months. For six months, we spent money on his treatment at PGI, Chandigarh. Doctors had no reply on what disease he had. He was saved but since then he does not know how to write, read or even wear his own clothes.”

It was only last year that Rajvir started participating in cycle race events, that too with a cycle that came through donation.

“He cycles too fast and we noticed that. We informed teachers working under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) about the problems of Rajvir and his interest in cycling,” says Harjit. Even then SSA had no funds to get a cycle and it was after collecting donations that a cycle was given to Rajvir.

“I am still in no position to fund Rajvir’s further coaching and it would continue only if government help continues. However I him to be self-sufficient and not lead a life in poverty,” said Balbir, who earns Rs 200 a day.