World Winter Games 2022: Special Olympics Bharat athletes resume training

World Winter Games 2022: Special Olympics Bharat conducted their first national coaching camp post the pandemic, in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, to prepare for Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2022.

The camp was held from February 8-20 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports and saw attendance from over 60 campers hailing from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Alpine Skiing, Snow Boarding, and Snow Shoeing were the three snow sports that were the primary focus of this preparation camp.

Athletes from the hot and humid regions, successfully acclimatized to temperatures ranging between -8 and -14° C and carried out daily practices of improving sport-specific skills as well as maintaining essential fitness levels and enhancing breathing capacity, to help them keep warm within short spans.

The coaching staff, which included experienced trainers from the Mountaineering Institute, also trained the campers in various fitness and yoga routines which can even be practiced under regular weather conditions.

“The national coaching camp concluded at a joyful note as all campers went back safe and healthy. We were on a constant vigil to keep the camp safe, also keeping a contingency plan in place that would cater to any emergency, medical or otherwise. Sports has proved itself a catalyst and a powerful tool to affect the inclusion of the marginalised,” said Malika Nadda, Vice-Chair, SO Bharat in an official statement.

“Winter games that initiated with the participation of athletes from the cold regions of India has, over the years, expanded to other regions of the country as well. These are the sports which many, even the mainstream sportspersons, are unfamiliar with,” she added.

Although novice level competition commences from the lower altitude slopes, the practice had to be enhanced directly to a higher altitude due to the unfavourable climatic conditions and the melting ice.