During the opening ceremony of the 16th Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Sana from Pakistan participated as a torchbearer. She is honoured to have been chosen as a torchbearer, and this acknowledgement reflects the value she places on her talent and dedication.
The athlete lives in a remote village in Mirpurkhas where education, especially for girls, has traditionally been frowned upon.It was due to a lack of education that her community was largely unaware of intellectual disability and how to deal with individuals with such disabilities.
Due to her inability to speak coherently, Sana was unable to communicate and explain what was troubling her to doctors and quacks around the area. As her parents became increasingly convinced that she was possessed by unholy spirits, she became increasingly frustrated. At home, she was chained, believing that handcuffs were the only way to keep her from running away. To exorcize her demons, she was taken on terrifying journeys to various religious shrines.
The Special Olympics Pakistan team heard about her, and they visited her village, finding her in chains, trembling with fear. They attempted to convince her parents that she was not possessed and that her brain had been wired differently. Eventually, after consistent discussion , her parents reluctantly allowed her to participate in Special Olympic sports.
She was taken to the Mirpurkhas sports ground by her grandmother and uncle, which was 80 kilometers away from her village. Gradually, this began to become a regular, thrice-a-week outing for Sana as well. She is brought there for sports training every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
Afterward, Sana continued her sports training and participated in other camps in Pakistan. Now Sana has become an inspiration to people from her area and bevond. .Sana’s parents never cease to thank Special Olympics Pakistan.
The honor of carrying the torch at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games was a great honor for her.
Sport has the potential to transform the lives of many Sana’s out there.