After drawing the ire of activists and a boycott by the Spastics Society of India last year for banning persons in wheelchairs, organisers of the Mumbai Marathon laid out the red carpet for disabled persons this year.
For the first time, 26 wheelchair users participated in the Mumbai Marathon on a 3.4 km stretch that was specially designed for them. The run started at 8 a.m. from opposite the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Though marathons organised in London, Boston and New York have disabled participants on wheelchairs, the Mumbai Marathon had left out the disabled last year. But the organisers decided to include them this time around after organisations like ADAPT, Disabled Rights Group, Mumbai (DRG) and NASEOH approached them. Advocate Preeti Shah, legal counsel, Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT) said, “Most international marathons make arrangements for, and encourage, people with disabilities.”
“Last year, no arrangements were made for people in wheelchairs since the marathon happened at the eleventh hour. A special time and an exclusive track were earmarked for them this year,” said Vivek Singh, joint managing director of Procam International, one of the promoters of the marathon.