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Rolling with Finesse: Sunita Suryavanshi

Rolling along to a Gold medal, Sunita Suryavanshi was part of the 24-strong roller skating team from India competing in Athens, Greece, at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Four years of training paid dividends in a Gold medal finish in the 2X200M Relay, and a fourth place in the individual 100M and 300M Race.

Poised to succeed

Sunita skating with Apolo Ohno at the Unity Sports Roller Skating event.

Despite losing an arm in a train accident when she was three, the now 15 year old Sunita gained good upper body strength to overcome her difficulty balancing. Coach Oswy Rebello is effusive about her progress, having coached Sunita since she joined Special Olympics Bharat, “I’ve seen that she has become very confident, and she picks up pointers quickly and responds well to coach instructions. She knows what’s required of her to do well.”

She continues, “Sunita’s developed very well.. She’s able to tie her elbow pads and knee pads on her own, and only needs help tying up her skate laces.”
When asked about her time in Athens, Sunita shyly says she especially liked skating with Apolo Ohno to the fast paced music at the Unified Sports Event, as well as the friendly Greek volunteers.

Developing other talents

Sunita (left) at her school award ceremony.

Sunita also shows an affinity for dancing, especially Gujarati folk dance (a traditional dance from the Gujarat region). Six months ago Sunita performed a roller skating routine in her school’s award ceremony, dressed in a traditional Indian sari. “Sports builds her self esteem. She is popular in school now because of roller skating,” says Coach Rebello. Her other interests include painting and cooking.

Beyond the Games, Coach Rebello reveals her long term plans to continue with Sunita’s growth and progress - making her a student trainer and role model to assist the coach during the summer training camps.