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Pune’s 50-year-old to cycle 2,000 kilometres to spread the message of cleanliness

To extend his vision, this endeavour from Raireshwar Fort, Pune to Delhi, will begin on December 3, commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

pune Updated: Nov 23, 2017 15:38 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
cycling,Popatrao Khopade,pune
Khopade is now a wrestler-turned-cyclist, who at the age of 35 suffered a severe spine injury during a wrestling game at Amravati.(HT Photo)

Fifty-year-old ex-wrestler, Popatrao Khopade will begin his 2,000 kilometre journey from Raireshwar Fort, Pune on December 3, with an aim to promote cleanliness and for protection of the environment.

The present chairperson of Naval Foundation, Khopade’s vision to take up the challenge is to spread the PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, by cleaning the areas and forts that will come in the way of his expedition.

Khopade is now a wrestler-turned-cyclist, who at the age of 35 suffered a severe spine injury during a wrestling game at Amravati.

“The injury made it difficult for me to continue wrestling, as I was diagnosed with a slip-disk, which eventually amounted to a bamboo spine disease, making a part of my body immovable.

“But I did not wish to give up and kept myself attached to physical exercises, and as of now, I have trained myself in cycling. As a disabled individual I did not want it to be a limitation and rather want to set a record and meanwhile also make it a worthwhile contribution to the environment,” he shared.

To extend his vision, this endeavor from Raireshwar Fort, Pune to Delhi, will begin on December 3, commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. He has been training for the past 6 months in cycling, with rigorous physical exercise for over 6 hours a day.

His journey, along with several members of the foundation will embark at 8 in the morning, with the target to cover almost 25 to 45 kilometers a day, on cycle.

Khopade stated that the expedition will start from Raireshwar fort crossing Pune city and through the districts of Aurangabad, Nagpur, covering the state of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and eventually reaching New Delhi.

The expected date for the culmination of the journey at Delhi is to be January 26.

“The aim of the entire journey is to show how in an eco-friendly way we can travel long distances. Further, the journey would involve us stopping at several spots, especially forts and clean them. It is our small way of contributing to the national cause,” he added.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 15:36 IST