R.Kowsalya, a student of Asha Deepam, is a gifted athlete who had a chance to travel to the USA on Feb 3-14th to participate in the Special Olympics Floor Hockey Winter Games held in Idaho USA. Her team won the Silver medal.
Kowsalya is from Karumandabam in Trichy. She attended regular school until the 5th grade when she was evaluated because of her poor academic performance. It was confirmed that Kowsalya has mild mental retardation & hearing loss.
Following her diagnosis, Kowsalya became a student at Asha Deepam (School and Service Centre for the Mentally Challenged) run by the Sisters Charity of Nazareth. Entry in to Asha Deepam became a turning point in Kowsalya’s life. Along with special education, training in co-curricular activities channeled her hidden talents.
Last year January she participated in Winter Special Olympics Floor Hockey held at Shimla, India and was selected for the International Special Olympics Winter games. To prepare, she attended coaching camps in Shimla, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Kowsalya is the only student who was selected from the state of Tamil Nadu.
Before leaving for Chennai to travel to Idaho, she was greeted by District Collector T.Sowndaiya and the District disabled rehabilitation officer and many other dignitaries from the Trichy town. The Special Olympics team at Chennai organized a party at Mont Fort School. Sister Sabina, director of Asha Deepam, said, “It was very touching to see the regular school students, who were so fascinated and were behind Kowsalya to get her autograph.
When asked about the experience, the ever cheerful Kowsalya says,”I am extremely happy. I consider myself very fortunate that I went to the USA and played for the Indian team and received the Silver Medal. I am the only one from Tamil Nadu to represent our country. I am deeply indebted to Sister Sabina and to my school Asha Deepam. I will cherish this success all my life.”
Recalling all the efforts and preparations to send Kowsalya to the USA, a much relieved Director Sister Sabina says, “I am extremely happy for this talented girl. It is just one thing that is very hard to believe. A girl like her went to USA, played for the Indian Team and won the Silver medal and is now back here safe. She has won the medal for our country. To say the least, the support and the encouragement that I received from all quarters was exceptional while we put lot of efforts towards this cause. I was overwhelmed to see her back and the large reception Kowsalya received at the Trichy Railway Station on her return. I am grateful to God, her parents and all the people behind this success.”