North Zone Regional Abilympics Celebrates the Exceptional Abilities of Over 100 Specially-Abled Participants in Gurugram

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Delhi/Gurugram: The North Zone Regional Abilympics, orchestrated by the National Abilympic Association of India (NAAI), concluded with fervour, witnessing the participation of approximately one hundred individuals with disabilities hailing from different Northern States like Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi NCR. NAAI has started the next cycle for the selections for 11th International Abilympics (2027), to be held in Finland. Participants at the regional level competed in 15 skill categories, under ICT, Crafts, Food and Services. 22 outstanding participants who excelled in different skills, won the gold, silver and bronze medals. Abilympics are specially designed to identify the best talent amongst the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) community, for participation in national and international competitions at a later stage.

The two-day event was a collaborative effort of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability (DePwD), the National Abilympic Association of India (NAAI) and Sarthak Educational Trust. The competitions were organised in Gurugram, Haryana on the sidelines of the 10th National Conference on Disability at the newly launched Global Resource Centre (GRC) in Sector 45, Gurugram which was formally inaugurated by Shri. Jagdeep Dhankhar, Hon’ble Vice-President of India.

The gold medalists from the North Zone included Ram Raghubir Mishra (Lucknow, UP) for ‘Painting’, Ankita Katnorya (Delhi) for ‘Waste Reuse’, Vanita (Dehradun) for ‘Floral Arrangement’, Naserul Gaffar Sheikh (Jammu & Kashmir) for ‘Embroidery’, and Aman Sahu (Gwalior) for ‘Cooking’.

Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, Secretary General (NAAI) & Founder CEO, Sarthak Educational Trust shared, “The Abilympics isn’t solely about showcasing skills; it’s a celebration of resilience, determination, and the incredible abilities that transcend limitations. India made history at the 10th International Abilympics in France, securing 7 medals with a small 13-member team. Looking ahead, India aims to participate in larger numbers at the 2027 International Abilympics, continuing to highlight talent, commitment, and the pursuit of excellence.” The international competition saw 428 participants from 27 countries and India secured 7th position in the overall medals tally.

PwDs constitute over 5 per cent of the total country’s population and there is a need to reach out to them to give them opportunities to work and earn self-respect by training or learning skills to earn a livelihood. Skill development not only opens doors to employment but also boosts self-confidence and independence among PwDs. Financial empowerment, on the other hand, provides them with the tools to lead self-sustaining lives.

NAAI came into existence in May 2001, at the behest of the Ministries of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE) and Human Resource Development (HRD), Government of India, NAAI was launched basically to organise India’s participation in the 6th Abilympics which were held in New Delhi in 2003 and the subsequent international competitions. NAAI has since expanded across India, spreading the Abilympics movement around the country. 

Chief Guest Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Department of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), GOI while addressing the Divyangjan present shared “Focus on potential and achievements for a dignified life. Pick up education, vocational stream or entrepreneurship and take it up. More jobs will be open in the private sector in times to come due to reservation.”

The West Zone Regional Abilympics Skill competitions will be held in Panaji, Goa, scheduled on January 11 and 12, 2024, on the sidelines of the International Purple Fest, Goa-2024, India’s first-of-its-kind inclusive festival that celebrates persons with disabilities, invites you to a world of boundless possibilities, where unity takes centre stage, and diversity is celebrated with open arms.