Pune girl wins two medals at Special Olympics

Anvita Srivastava
Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Camilla said, “It feels extremely wonderful after winning medals at the Special Olympics and I was touched by the way my society people welcomed me.”

PUNE: Camilla Patnaik (18), a resident of Kalpataru Estate, Pimple Gurav, won two medals at Abu Dhabi 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in swimming. The games were held from March 14 to 21. She won a silver medal in 800 metres pool swimming and a bronze in 1.5 km sea swimming event.

“Camilla was diagnosed with down syndrome when she was just three months old. Our main struggle started after that, as she had to undergo a lot of therapies. But finally, now all our hard work has paid off as she has created a name of her own. Now people know us as her parents.” said Suryanarayan Patnaik, Camilla’s father.

“Initially, we had to face a lot of problems as no one wanted to play with her. But today despite being a special child, she has achieved what a normal child wouldn’t. I feel that it is very important to give proper guidance to special children and with the help of that, they can do anything. We did the same in Camilla’s case.” said Leena Patnaik, Camilla’s mother.

Called as dolphin girl by her coach Abhijit Tambe, Camilla started swimming at the age of three but her skills got noticed when she was 13. She had come to Pune with her family. After that, she started training under Abhijit Tambe of Bal Kalyan Sanstha who trained and coached Camilla. She has won about 42 medals including gold and silver at district, state and national levels.

Post her victory, Camilla was quite thrilled with the welcome she received by her society residents. Camilla said, “It feels extremely wonderful after winning medals at the Special Olympics and I was touched by the way my society people welcomed me.”

Apart from swimming, Camilla loves painting, cooking and scribbling. In July 2018, she also started her business called ‘A Dolphin Girl’ which sells painted diyas and painted fabric material. 

“Last year, she asked us why can’t she go to office, so we decided to start a venture for her. She is very good at painting and so we decided to provide her with a platform so that she can be independent. We have tied up with various companies and last year, it made good revenue by selling diyas,” Suryanarayan said.

Camilla also has her philanthropic side as well and she desires to do something for the poor and homeless children. 

“We are also planning to start an NGO for homeless children with the prize money,” added Suryanarayan.

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