Volume 4 Issue 4 - February 15, 2006

Disabled participants register small but vital presence at Delhi International Marathon

D.N.I.S. News Network – As the National Capital showcased itself as a world-class city all set to host the Commonwealth Games on the day of the Delhi International Marathon, a handful of disabled people rejoiced on just being able to fight their way to the start-up line that was originally not meant for them as they had been conveniently forgotten by the organisers.

Picture of marathon particpants

The day itself was nothing short of a symbolic battle for seven wheelchair-user participants and about the same number of crutch users. They rushed to the start-up point even as the announcer declared: “There seem to be no participants for the wheelchair category run.”

Curious onlookers expressed surprise on getting to know that there was a separate category for wheelchair users too. It was only a day before that the category was added following an intense campaign by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.).

Initially, only four categories were planned – the Full Marathon and the Half Marathon for athletes, the Tiranga Run for non - athletes/ ordinary citizens and the Golden Years Run for senior citizens and the children below age of 15 years.

A fifth category – ‘Wheel for Freedom’ was added hastily as N.C.P.E.D.P. shot off letters to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and corporate sponsors Shobhna Bhartia of Hindustan Times, Anil Ambani of Reliance Infocomm and Navin Jindal of Jindal Steel and Power.

It was Shobhna Bhartia’s firm and decisive intervention that forced the organisers of the event S.M.G.I. Sports Private Limited to concede to the demand.

Rajiv, who uses only his first name, was declared winner in the wheelchair-user category, with Aqeel Qureshi of N.C.P.E.D.P as the runner up.

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