The organisers are expecting about 500 entries in its inaugural year, and want to make this an annual affair.
In a bid to give para sports a lift in the state, the Maharashtra Para Sports is organising a meet for young athletes at Khar Gymkhana from January 26 to 28, next year. Real estate company Ekta World, in association with an NGO called Happy Foundation, is organising the three-day event for boys and girls in the U-12, U-15, U-18 and over-18 categories, in eight individual and two team sports.
The individual sports include badminton. chess, carrom, lawn tennis, table tennis, swimming and karate, plus two team events for box cricket and rink football.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) will provide technical support and will sponsor the talented and deserving medal winners at the meet.
The organisers are expecting around 500 entries in its inaugural year, and want to make this an annual affair. “This year we are targeting 500 participants. One participant can play a maximum of three sports. We want to increase the number of entries to 1,500 in the next three to four years,” organising secretary Amit Modi said.
Mumbai’s international para table tennis player Om Lotlikar may also be part of the event. “If I am in India during that time, I will definitely participate in the event. It is a great idea to bring all para atheletes on one platform here at Khar Gymkhana,” said the 24-year-old paddler, who lost his right hand in a freak accident in childhood. Om represented India at the Asian Paralympic Championship in China in August this year. Despite losing his main hand, Lotlikar has not let it affect his normal life, and has learnt to use his left hand efficiently in regular life and on the table as well. He plays tennis with players at clubs like P.J. Hindu Gymkhana, and also savours his wins. “I am training hard on a regular basis. With good support from all concerned, I am now targeting participation and doing well in the Commonwealth Games,” said the Charni Road resident.
Agastya Jaiswal (11), popularly known as Google boy, is associated with Happy Foundation, and is supporting the event. “I am a state level table tennis player and I know it will be a competitive tournament,” said Agastya, whose sister Naina Jaiswal (17) has won many national and international titles for India in table tennis.
Agastya completed his matriculation studies at the age of eight and is currently pursuing first year graduation.