Second day of World Dwarf Games features badminton, swimming
In the second day of the 2013 World Dwarf Games, athletes competed in badminton singles, team boccia and swimming.
The World Dwarf Games allows athletes with dwarfism or disproportionate dysplasia the opportunity to compete against and meet more than 400 athletes from across the world.
For Sri Lanka’s badminton singles gold medalist Randika Cooray, the games are an opportunity to escape the cruelties of the real world and be in a world for a week in which she isn’t laughed or stared at.
“It’s phenomenal – meeting people and knowing they are going through the same aches and pains that I am,” Cooray said.
Cooray joked that she thought a group of children playing football was going to laugh at her when she walked by them the other day. However, she said they turned out to be small people and it was a relief because they all try to stick together.
Cooray moved to London after living in Sri Lanka for 20 years and said she loves the busy life, even though most little people don’t.
“I wanted to represent Sri Lanka to show the people who doubted me that we can achieve anything,” Cooray said.
San Ramon, Calif., resident Margaret Palomino said this year was her son’s first time competing in the games and they really enjoyed seeing the athletes from all of the different countries.
Polamino said her son played baseball in high school until he was 18 but he feels much more comfortable competing against athletes within the games.
“(It’s a) once-in-a-lifetime experience even though it’s not the average-sized Olympics we see every four years,” Polamino said. “It’s great; it’s the Olympics, but it’s for them, which is fantastic.”
USA individual and team boccia coach and Pittsburgh, Penn., resident John Graf has two 17-year-old sons with dwarfism and has been involved in athletic events with them since they were young.
“It’s a great opportunity to come out and do something physical,” Graf said. “The international aspect of the Olympics takes it up another notch — quite a few of these sports we aren’t familiar with, like badminton and table tennis.”
USA athlete Christian Contreras of Riverside, Calif., ended the day with a silver medal in boccia team. Cotreras said he speaks Spanish and he loves hearing all of the different accents from all the athletes.
“It’s a real dream — I always watched the Olympics when I was younger, I always loved watching every team,” Contreras said. “I met a guy from Barcelona; he was really nice, and it’s really cool seeing everybody from the different countries — it’s a new journey.”