Volume 4 Issue 3 - February 01, 2006

Disabled people find seriousness missing from Mumbai Marathon

D.N.I.S. News Network- At the recent Mumbai Marathon, disabled participants not only took part, shoulder-to-shoulder with the non-disabled participants, but also displayed an intense competitive spirit.

The ever-growing participation by disabled people in such events should act as a reminder for the organisers to guard against tokenism. Merely “allowing” disabled people to participate in the Mumbai Marathon is not enough. Arrangements like toilets and drinking water facilities should be made accessible.

Disabled participants were also not happy over the wheelchair section of the marathon not being categorised as a competitive event.

“They should have made ours a competitive event too”, said 25-year-old Rajiv Virat, who wants to climb the Everest one day. Rajiv has multiple sclerosis and has been a wheelchair user for eight years.

Neenu Kewlani, another participant, said: “There was no washroom facility for us. While making other arrangements, basic facilities for disabled people should also be made available.”

Last year, a huge controversy broke out as the marathon entry forms explicitly stated that no “wheel vehicles or animals” were allowed on the track. “We nearly sent a legal notice to the organisers,” remarked Anita Prabhu, co-chairperson of the Bandra-based Abled-Disabled All People Together (A.D.A.P.T.).

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