Friday, October 17, 2008


Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, OCTOBER 17, 2008: Recently the ‘Annual Tribal Olympics’ were held at Baria, a small town 55 kilometres away form Chhota. Baria was once a famous tribal kingdom and even today continues to be inhabited almost exclusively by tribals. Our boys and girls from Chhota participated in these Olympics which saw a variety of novel games such as an 8 kilometre marathon through the hills and the forest, hockey played with a stick and a heavy ball the size of a football, tug of war and of course our very own Indian games of kho-kho and kabaddi. The most popular event of the Olympics was the archery tournament, in which anyone with a traditional bow and arrow could take part. There were many enthusiastic contestants who participated in this typically tribal event. The winner of this contest was a certain Gopal Baria from Dhudki village. Every arrow that this man shot hit the bull’s-eye, although the target was a good 60 metres away. But the really amazing part is that this man is crippled, both his legs are immobile and deformed due to polio.
In the little conversation I managed to have with him he told me that he comes from an extremely poor family, their only sustenance being a small field. Due to his disability he could neither go to school nor work in the field. However, there was one job that his father had entrusted to him, that of driving away the monkeys and birds that destroyed their crops. Hence, from the time he was a little child he had sat in his field, bow and arrow in hand. It was this daily ‘practice’ that had made him an expert archer. When the Indian Olympic Committee begins putting together its team for the next Olympics it should look for champions in these unusual places!

1 comment:

Chris Valentino said...

please groom and send this man for the paralympics... it will definitely be a salesian achievement...