Mluru Girl in Special Olympics Bharat Team Wins Unified Cup 2022 Detroit with Bronze Medal

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Mangaluru Special Girl 22-year-old Likitha Harish Putran a student of Lions Special School- Surathkal in Special Olympics Bharat Team Wins Unified Cup 2022 Detroit, USA with Bronze Medal. She is the daughter of Harish Puthran, an auto-rickshaw driver, and Ms Jalajakshi, a homemaker, residing in Baikampady, Mangaluru

Mangaluru: After the Special Olympics Bharat team received a warm welcome on their return from the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 Detroit on 8th August at The Lalit, New Delhi, graced by Shri Virender Kumar, Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt of India, joined by many other distinguished guests, after a week-long event held in Detroit, Michigan, USA from 31 July to 6 August 2022, our local special girl Likitha Harish Putran was one of the team members of the Special Olympics Bharat Football Team.

At the felicitation event in New Delhi, the team was presented with a cheque of 3.75 lakhs by SO Bharat to their athletes. Special Olympics Bharat also received a cheque of 1.5 lakhs from the Prime Volleyball League. Team SO Bharat returned with a Bronze Medal booking their spot finally in a clash with SO Serendib (Sri Lanka) scoring a win against them at11:1. India played its first match against UAE winning 2:1 while losing to Burkina Faso, Mexico in Group C and in the semi-finals against Namibia.

Additionally in a Unified Celebrity match, wherein the celebrities played alongside the special Athletes, India was represented by PapiyaMurmu, an Athlete from West Bengal. She made the sole goal scored by her team. The Unified Cup once again amplified the message of Inclusion to a crescendo, unfolding over 20 teams coming from diametrically diverse cultures, making Detroit, home to the week-long event, an outstanding potboiler of sorts.

Head coach of the team C. Santhiya also expressed her elation, “I feel extremely happy right now as I could help guide the team that won the Bronze Medal as the players achieved something truly remarkable. I am almost lost for words to describe their achievement. What truly made me happy was to see my players slowly grow in confidence and come out of their shells during the training camps and even the tournament, which also helped the team bond extremely well. It is also a testament to the power of sport and how it could help include underserved sections of society.”

Ms Jalajakshi Puthran, the mother of Likitha (the only daughter) speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “It is indeed a proud moment for me and my husband that our daughter made it to play football internationally in Detroit, USA, even though she has played and won prizes nationally and in the state. I would like to thank the management of Lios Special School, Surathkal for their constant support to Likitha in her sporting talents, and thanks also to Mahesh Kumar of Mangaluru, who is a Special Olympics Bharat Skating Trainer who helped my daughter in football training at St Aloysius College ground prior to her departure to the US. The government of India has taken care of all the travel and stay expenses, and I am happy to see our daughter back home safe, after her big achievement at the international level. I would be very grateful if the government supports us in raising our child in her efforts to shine in future tournaments”.

Mahesh Kumar also said “I would like to congratulate the SO Bharat Team, their coach and the players on winning the bronze medal at the 2022 Unified Cup. The Bharat team’s victorious campaign in Detroit has proved that girls in our country are talented and are capable of doing wonders if given the right opportunity. The girls in India are talented but they need our support and direction in fulfilling their potential, and they have our undying support. I feel proud that I was of little help in making arrangements for her football training at St Aloysius College ground for a couple of months”.

TEAM MANGALOREAN congratulates Likitha for her achievement and making her hometown proud as a Special Olympics International Football player, even though being a SPECIAL GIRL.

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