Special Olympics Summer Games 2019, Player Profile: Shalu
Abandoned and scared, Shalu, a five-year-old in the year 2000, joined the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Punjab.
She could not speak. What happened before that day remains a mystery to date. No one has ever visited the facility to enquire about her. It took a lot of patience, love, care and techniques to pull her out of the dark and distressed past.
She went through a tough phase of behaviour problems where she would often hurt herself, throw a tantrum to prevent anyone from leaving her side. She wanted attention all the time attempting to speak. Her mentor and friends gradually got used to understand her through her stuttering.
Long back Shalu abandoned the road which surrounded her with misery. Soon after joining the AIPC Society her sporting abilities were assessed across football, basketball, floor ball , floor hockey and Powerlifting.
For 8-9 years Shalu has been consistently practising powerlifting. She is preparing for the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2019 Abu Dhabi.
“I am excited to fly for the games and bring back a Gold,” says the powerlifter
Shalu is practising under the guidance of Raju Rajinder who is a Coach Assistant. Raju himself participated in the Austria Games in 2017 in Floor Hockey winning a Gold Medal.
It is pleasant to see an amicable bonding between the two. Raju checks her when required and appreciates her attempts at the sport while she follows his instructions readily and closely.
Shalu has other interests too. She likes cooking and embroidering. She grooms other children and assists the society during school hours.
Going frequently for the Special Olympics camps has made her very conscious of how well she is turned out.
She feels that she has put on some weight and is aggressively trying to control and regain fitness for the World Games. She feels proud that she can write her name. In her free time she brushes up names of fruits, vegetables, seasons, colours etc
“She is like a daughter to me” says Ms Padmini Srivastava , Principal School Section, All India Pingalwara Charitable Society.
“She cares for me, for my health and gets upset when she feels that I am not being careful. When I think back I feel surprised how far she has travelled through the travesties of time. She is confident. She is decisive. I feel proud”