Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A Nepali man raised in a Catholic facility for mentality disabled children won a gold medal at 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, between 26 January and 5 February. Amit Yogi, 26, took the top post in the snowshoeing competition, beating athletes from seven nations. Some 2,300 athletes and staff took part in the sporting event in Pyeongchang, which is set to host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games
The young man grew up at the Centre for the Mentally Disabled Children in Navajyoti, Kathmandu. Amit's trainer, Ganesh Parajuli, a Catholic, said he chose the young athlete because of his confidence and strength more than his athletic skills.
"The extraordinary thing is that he never did any sport before this one," the trained explained. "He discovered his talent after a trial when he was already in South Korea."
Organisers complimented the Catholic facility for the quality of its teaching and care, which enabled the young disabled man to believe in himself and overcome psychological and emotional obstacles.
Sister Suma, head of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregation in Navajyoti, said that Amit is "one of the few disabled children, out of 93, who can communicate and take part in conversations. The others' disabilities are so bad that they cannot talk."
In view of his success and dedication to study, the young man is an example for others.
"Aware of his skills, Yogi has begun to write and read, and is able to carry out other tasks, which are usually impossible for someone with his disability," Sister Suma said.
"I knew I was going to win and that's what happened," Nepal's gold winner said after returning home. "All the credit goes to my trainer and to Sister Suma who helped me find meaning in my life."
After his victory, Amit wants to train his friends and take part in the next Games as an assistant coach.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth founded the centre in Navajyoti in 1978. In the past few years, the number of special needs kids has grown; far too often, they are marginalised in their Hindu communities. This has pushed the Sisters to set up two other schools, one in Dharan (eastern Nepal) and Surkhet (west-central Nepal).
Francis met with a delegation of athletes from Special Olympics, a global organisation present in 170 countries dedicated to sports for youth and adults with mental disabilities. " Sport also helps us to spread a culture of encounter and solidarity,” said the pontiff. “Together, athletes and helpers show us that there are no obstacles or barriers which cannot be overcome.”
Some athletes will be able to participate individually and with strict procedures. The national flag will not be admitted and in case of victory the Olympic anthem will resound. Russian vice-premier Vitaly Mutko, head of the World Cup organization, has been banned for life. Moscow speaks of an "unjust and immoral" choice. The United States exults.
The decision of the International Olympic Committee. The Olympic Charter protects all rights and freedoms without discrimination. November 13, "Olympic Truce" adopted by the UN General Assembly and promoted by South Korea.