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Salwan marathon to test human spirit

Ayesha Bhatia has lived most of her life in England. And for the first time, she will run a special 'marathon' when she participates in the Salwan Marathon, reports Moonmoon Ghosh.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2009 00:20 IST
Moonmoon Ghosh

Ayesha Bhatia has lived most of her life in England. And for the first time, she will run a special 'marathon' when she participates in the Salwan Marathon on Sunday.

The world's largest school race that will attract around 30,000 students from across the country this year, has a special section — for visually impaired.

Ayesha, who is visually impaired, will run the race with a volunteer. She has been in Delhi since April this year.

The special race will have five Olympians as volunteers from the Mittal Champions' Trust that was initiated by Amit Bhatia, son-in-law of business magnate Lakshmi Mittal. Ayesha is Amit's younger sister.

Looking forward to the race, the 27-year-old said it would be a big challenge, as she has “never run a marathon before.”

Those with impairments and disabilities are not given too many chances in the country, especially in sports. But Ayesha would like to see a change in the modus operandi.

“Hey, it can be done, and I am the proof,” she said. “I am running the marathon to encourage and give people the belief that they can do much better.”

Physical education (PE) in India was vital to teach students to work together as a team. “It (PE) should be available for every student across the country,” she said.

Ayesha said that facilities for the visually impaired were much better in England. As a member of Outward Bound, an organisation founded by Kurt Hahn, she participated in a range of physical activities.

“We went camping, climbed hills. And once we even built a raft and sailed across an 11-mile long lake,” she explained.

Ayesha's interests include books and sports. “I like Formula One, but I haven't followed it much this season,” she said. The self-confessed “voracious” reader said that she “read all sorts of stuff.”

Ayesha recollected what Hahn once said. “We are all better than we know. If only we can be brought up to realise this, we may never again be prepared to settle for anything else.”

Having realised it, Ayesha will now be inspiring other runners to do the same.