Winnipeg teen proves small size is no barrier to winning big
Published Saturday, June 1, 2013 12:33PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 1, 2013 11:36PM EDT
At four-feet-one, Vivek Bhagria may be small in stature, but he's got a big plan this summer: to compete for his country at the highest level possible.
The Winnipeg teen will be one of 30 athletes representing Canada at the World Dwarf Games for the first time this summer. The eight-day event being held at Michigan State University in August is expected to be a grueling competition for the 18-year-old athlete, as he plans to compete in several events including soccer, track, basketball and badminton.
At his local high school in Winnipeg, Bhagria competes with average height athletes.
"It’s a big challenge facing other people that are tall," he told CTV News. "Like if you play basketball and if (the other players are) too tall, you can’t get the rebounds so it's kind of a big deal," he said.
Bhagria's height, however, has never stopped him from being a threat on the field.
Sunny Dhillon, Bhagria's ultimate Frisbee teammate describes the teen as someone to watch out for.
"He’s actually more competitive than most of the guys on our team," he said.
And according to his soccer coach Brad Johnston, Bhagria is one of the most self-disciplined and aggressive athletes he’s ever coached.
"It’s hard to get him out of the gym. He’s always there. (Vivek) wants to play everything and I don’t think his height has ever been a consideration for him," Brad Johnston said.
But it wasn’t always easy for Bhagria. When he was in Grade 6, for example, he was bullied by members of his soccer team. "People think that I’m different but I can be the same (compared) to other people. I can do anything…."
And that determination has been paying off.
In April, he was named Dakota Collegiate athlete of the month. "Out of 1,200 kids, me winning that one big award means a lot, and it gives me pride," Bhagria said.
With files from CTV Winnipeg