When we think of an autistic child, what comes to our mind? More often than not, it is a stereotype. Well, what if I tell you it’s not exactly what Ranveer Singh Saini conforms to? He may exhibit the autistic manifestations, but he radiates a winner’s aura.
Ranveer is not your conventional Olympics champion (as you may want to visualize)—he was born with autism. But as he takes the club in his hand on the golf course, he sweeps away all your preset notions with one brilliant stroke.
At 14, Ranveer made history when he became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the Special Olympics World Games at Los Angeles in 2015, in a sport that he had taken up just five years earlier. It has been a long journey for Ranveer for whom performing customary tasks that you and I do without much thought, was a challenge. As a toddler, Ranveer could not express himself clearly, and had to undergo 12-14 hours of therapy. While his intellectual deviation was identified early, the Saini family decided to introduce him to golf so that he could develop a passion for his special ability.
At first, it was unusual for the caddies, his schoolmates and people around him, who were not ready to accept him readily in this form. But it was his single-minded focus which helped him excel at what he was doing with unabashed passion. It was easy for the Saini family, one which has several golfers, to extend a helping hand for Ranveer’s passion when he needed their support.
Encouraged by his parents and the gradual acceptance of those around him, and buoyed by his success at golf, a new Ranveer was clearly emerging. Today, a number of awards adorn the walls of his house as a testament to his achievements.
Recognised by the Limca Book of Records, Ranveer’s is a story that deserves to be told over and over as a reminder that no matter the odds against you, a true champion is one with an ability to overcome any disability.
Watch Ranveer’s story here: