Special Olympics Update - A Dash of Inspiration and Bravery

posted Dec 11, 2016, 2:09 AM by MINDS MYG

A Dash of Inspiration and Bravery

Five... Four… Three... Two... One...  and off they go! An eager row of runners burst out of the blocks with glee and focus written all over their faces as they make their way to the finishing line at the Standard Chartered Marathon’s Kids Dash.

Photo from Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Facebook page

But, this particular flag off was no ordinary one as we saw some of our very own beneficiaries huff and puff through the roads while the Saturday evening crowd cheered them on enthusiastically and clicked away on their cameras. Notably, amongst these jubilant runners, there was a group which had been zealously training since a few months back - all in the hopes of winning the Special Olympics National Games 2017.

Photo from Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Facebook page 

I was paired with one such athlete and to have taken the race alongside him, it was an experience which I would undoubtedly remember and savour for the years to come. I was most impressed by the fact that he had only stopped twice to walk and catch his breath, while several others even overtook their coaches as they make it to the finishing line. As the end drew nearer, I gestured profusely to have him raise his arms to signal his triumphant finish but his zeal and determination overcame him so much that he failed to even recognise that he has completed the race. And if one managed to take a shot of him then, many of you would have been as proud as I did to see him beamed so wildly as he crossed the finishing line.

But more than anything, I was inspired; not just by this act of completing the race but also how valiantly these group of athletes strived against all odds to achieve that. I started my volunteering journey when I was 12. Then, what started as a simple game of soccer comprising both abled and people with intellectual disability quickly turned into a valuable lesson for me - that everyone is unique and possess different capabilities to achieve different things, including one-upping several of us in soccer and now, completing a race (and having overtaken their coaches to boot!).

As you come to know us and the community which we have befriended, you will, like me, come to realise that this story is one of the many brave attempts our beneficiaries take on a daily basis. For the fact that the odds are against them, let us salute them for not cowering in the face of adversity. And while they may not make a mark in history for the best game played, or for the fastest person to complete a race, let us salute them for being the bravest.

About the writer

Xiang Hui has been volunteering at Ang Mo Kio Project (one the projects under MINDS MYG) for the past ten years. His passion for sports and volunteering has pushed him to take up the responsibility of training MINDS MYG’s beneficiaries for the upcoming National Games 2017. Together with a team of MINDS MYG volunteers, he is currently carrying out regular trainings for MINDS MYG’s bocce and soccer teams. He believes that with a structured training programme and consistent training, they can help MINDS MYG’s beneficiaries to maximize their potential.