Golf champ Ranveer wins top Haryana sports honourJanuary 27, 2018, Gurgaon
GURUGRAM: A medal is a medal, no matter if it’s the endeavours of an able-bodied or special-needs athlete that have earned gold, silver or bronze. And on Republic Day, the state government struck a positive blow for those with special needs by conferring Gurugram lad Ranveer Saini with the Bhim award, Haryana’s top honour for sportsmen and sportswomen.
Saini, a specially-abled golfer who has won multiple accolades in the international arena, was felicitated as the ‘golf champion’ of the state by Haryana’s education minister, Ram Bilas Sharma, at a Republic Day function on Friday.
In 2017, when Ranveer’s name was recommended for the award, his father Kartikay Saini spoke of it being a watershed moment.
“For the whole community of athletes with special needs, this is inspirational and motivational, because it makes them believe that there’s hope,” said Saini Sr.
A year on, he is celebrating a victory for inclusion. “Today was so special because Ranveer was not felicitated under any special or reserved category, he was felicitated under the sports category,” Kartikay Saini said.
“He was honoured by the state government as a sportsperson, alongside every other sportsperson, for his feats in a sport, golf, in which he has won so many laurels.
“So, it’s a great honour.”
The career of Ranveer, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder before he turned two, has been sprinkled with achievements.
But beyond the medals and awards won, what most impresses is his equanimity, and his ability to adapt and adjust to, and embrace, whatever golf — and life — throws at him.
“Golf makes me focused, happy and calm,” Ranveer told TOI a month before returning with gold from the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, in Los Angeles. Last year, Ranveer showed determination and pluck by winning the 2017 Macau Special Olympics Golf Masters in his first outing in Level-V, the highest category for Special Olympics golfers.
Besides, Ranveer boasts a tally of three golds at the Asia Pacific Games, has found mention in the Limca Book of Records for three years straight, and was also the winner of the ‘Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year’ award in 2016.
He will be hoping to repeat his 2015 victory at the next Summer Games, to be held in Abu Dhabi in March 2019. But whatever else he may accomplish, Ranveer was born to break barriers and to inspire. And January 26, 2018, was just another step in what has been a special journey — for him and the family of special-needs athletes.
School: Scottish High International School