A Winnipeg teenager is gearing up for the 2013 World Dwarf Games this week. He'll be taking part in 11 different sports and planning on taking home the gold in at least a few.
Vivek Bhagria is the only Manitoban on Team Canada’s 25-person roster for the international games.
The 18 year old said he’s eager to show off his talents on a world stage.
"[Soccer’s] my number one passion," said Bhagria.
At four-foot-one, Bhagria said he has faced obstacles getting to this place — including bullying from his peers.
"They were bullying me, making fun of me, calling me names — small guy, dwarf and whatever, midget," he said. "It hurts, but you have to get used to it because you’re not going to get any taller."
Now, Bhagria is poised to compete in 11 of the 13 sports in the events, including soccer, basketball and hockey.
He said he expects to take home gold in at least some of those sports.
"It’ll be like my own Olympics. I can show people I can do everything," he said.
Bhagria’s coach Eric Cable said the opportunity is unlike any in the province.
"He’ll be able to do things he wouldn’t usually be able to do if he was competing against average-sized people," said Cable.
Friend Karniel Shusder said regardless of who Bhagria is teamed up against, he’s a fierce competitor on the field.
"We’re all twice as tall as him, and it’s supposed to be pressuring him mentally, but it doesn’t" said Shusder.
Bhagria said he’s not just looking forward to the competition but the chance to spend time with his competitors.
"Maybe I’ll even meet a girl — someone to socialize with, talk to. Yeah, it’ll be really fun," he said.
The 2013 Dwarf Games will begin Saturday in Michigan, and 395 athletes from 17 different countries are expected to compete.