New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The sports ministry held a send off function here on Friday for the athletes, their coaches and officials going to participate in the Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held between March 14 to 25 in Graz, Austria.

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar were present on the occasion.

In his speech, Goel said his ministry is providing financial assistance to “Special Olympics Bharat” for organising national championship, coaching and training.

He said for participation in the upcoming World Winter Games, the government has incurred an expenditure of about Rs 1.5 crore on the contingent consisting of 90 athletes, 23 coaches and 3 officials.

Wishing the contingent, the minister said these athletes have proved that by devotion and determination a person can achieve anything in life. He expressed the hope that many of these special athletes will become sporting stars and bring glory to the nation.

Goel said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has desired that all sections of society should enjoy the pleasure of participating in any sports activity of their choice to feel happy and healthy.

Kiran, Vidushi, Dulfisha and Diksha, part of an NGO, SOS Children’s Village, will also compete in the Games.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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