Representing at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games

A dream has come true for Kiran, Vidushi, Diksha and Dulfisha from SOS Children’s Villages India: they represented their country at the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017, held from 14-25 March in Austria.

Children from SOS India who will participate in the 2017 Special Winter Olympics
From left to right: Athletes Kiran (19), Vidushi (17), Dulfisha (19), Diksha (19). Photo credit: Leonora Barclay

Kiran (19), Vidushi (17) and Diksha’s (19) team came in third place in floor hockey. Dulfisha (19) competed in the floor ball games, where she was one of the highest scorers of all female floor ball players. “I achieved this because of my SOS mother, who always helped and supported me,” explains Dulfisha in between games at the Special Olympics in Graz, in southern Austria.

This sentiment is echoed by the other young women, who emphasized that their motivation is to show that through sport, they can achieve more than people without disabilities and to make their families proud – and to make themselves proud!

These inspiring young women all share a special connection: from an early age, they grew up in SOS families, who supported them in becoming the skilled athletes they are today. Through sport, they have developed self-confidence and athletic skills, as well as the determination to succeed and to represent their country.

“Kiran, Vidushi, Diksha and Dulfisha have made all of us at SOS Children’s Villages India feel a very strong sense of pride! We are delighted that four of our children have embarked on a journey to make their dreams come true,” said Anuja Bansal, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages India.

Kiran came to the SOS Children’s Village Khajurikalan in November 2016 as a baby. Her SOS mother recognized and encouraged her talent – and encouraged her to enter the Special Olympics program. Kiran began playing basketball, but soon discovered her love for floor hockey. She pushed to go further and to participate in the Special Olympics, training “day and night” for the opportunity.

Vidushi has been living in the SOS Children’s Village Khajurikalan since August 1999. Her favourite sports are floor hockey, soccer and swimming. “SOS Children’s Villages encouraged me to play lots of sports,” she laughs.

Diksha came to the SOS Children’s Village with two siblings at the age of three. She shares how she started training for the Special Olympics: “I always loved playing as many sports as possible with my SOS siblings and friends, then I realized how much fun I had playing sports and wanted to go further and further.”

Dulfisha was seven years old when she came to the SOS Children’s Village in Jaipur. From the very first day, she played passionately outdoors and participated in all school sports events. “I played in one small state competition, then a bigger one and a bigger one, and now I’m here!”

They are really enjoying their time in Austria, exploring a new country, meeting new people, and a experiencing a completely different culture