KATHMANDU, July 6: Sharmila Lamichhane´s mother Yagumaya has been receiving numerous phone calls after her daughter was declared the winner of Para-Athlete of the Year award during the Pulsar Sports Award organized by Nepal Sports Journalists Forum on Wednesday.
"We got numerous phone calls from our home town Chitwan and other places after Sharmila was declared the winner," Sharmila´s mother Yagumaya told Republica.
Twenty-one-year-old Sharmila, who is suffering from mental retardation, was accorded the honor for winning gold in the shot put event during the Special Olympic held in Athens, Greece, from June 25 to July 4, 2011.
"She was very happy after winning the award. She has expressed her desire to continue to play in the upcoming days," Yagumaya said. Sharmila had also competed in the 100m race in Athens in which she finished fourth.
Sharmila with her mother.
"We are really proud of her. She earned name and fame despite her mental disability. Her photos and visuals appeared in almost all the newspapers and televisions in Nepal and she has been flooded with applauds," said Yagumaya about her eldest daughter.
Sharmila lives at Bharatpur-10, Chitwan with her family, which includes her mother, father Rishiram, two younger brothers and a sister.
"Sharmila had secured the first place in the National Games for Disabled held in Chitwan a year ago. Later, we got a phone call from Kathmandu asking whether we would send her to Greece for participating in the special Olympic. We let her take part in the games and were thrilled when we were told that she won a gold medal in shot put," said the proud mother. "After receiving the award, she has got a national recognition. We will let her take part in sports as long as she wants."
When Sharmila was nine only then did the family became clear that their daughter was mentally challenged. "We admitted her to Chitwan High School when she was five. But she remained in the same class for three years. Sensing something was wrong, we went to Kathmandu for check-up. The doctors in Kathmandu declared her mentally retarded," Yagumaya said.
Sharmila´s life took a different course after that as she was admitted at a different school that suited her. "We admitted her at Narayani High School in Bharatpur. The school runs separate classes for differently-abled. Her interest in sports grew at the Narayani High School and shot put and sprints are her favorite sports," Yagumaya said.
She represented the school at many sports meet for differently-abled across the country. "She won almost everywhere," quiped Yagumaya.