Even paralysis didn't deter them from competing in 4.3-km event | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Even paralysis didn't deter them from competing in 4.3-km event

mumbai Updated: Jan 16, 2012 01:32 IST
Nikhil M Ghanekar

A freak fall from a single-storey building in 2005 crushed Oliver D'Souza's dream to play professional football.

On Sunday, the Sion resident reclaimed the sportsman in him by completing the 4.3km wheelchair event at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. "I want to create awareness about making the city more accessible to the differently-abled," said D'Souza, 29, who is paralysed waist down and works as a public relations consultant.

The wheelchair event saw 370 participants, up from last year's 300. This year, the distance of the wheelchair event was increased from 2.5km to 4.3km.

For Phool Singh, 46, and four other soldiers, who were wounded in action, from the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PHC), Pune, the marathon was another feather in their sporting cap.

"I was shot in the back at Imphal and that left me paralysed waist down. In 2003, I participated in the Pune marathon and this is the second time at the Mumbai marathon," said Singh.

Several participants on wheelchairs said the event should be a competitive one.

"The wheelchair event gives immense inspiration to differently-abled persons. But for someone like an ex-solider or me, we have the urge to compete in a separate race. If we can move around on a badminton court and have athletics for the disabled, why not a race in the marathon?" asked Satyaprakash Tiwari, an Asian champion in badminton.

About 70 children and youth afflicted by cerebral palsy represented Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT), a non-profit organisation.