In the sea of participants at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, 13 highly spirited individuals from Hyderabad stood out. All of them, who sprinted in the 7-km Dream Run, have lost a limb in accidents.
IT engineer Kiran Kanojia, 27, lost her left leg while thieves in a train in 2011. But she has not lost her steely resolve to live life to the hilt. She travelled with other blade runners to Mumbai to spread the message of hope and courage for those who have lost their limbs. “Even after my accident, I did not lose hope. Six months later, I got a blade fitted and cycled 75 km from Hyderabad to Vikarabad. Life does not end due to tragedies,” Kanojia told dna.
Kanojia’s colleague, Manish Pande, 22, is the fastest blade runner in India. Before disability crippled him, Pande was a national level long jump athlete. He had aspired to be a runner all his life but his athletic dreams were crushed in a train accident.
On April 2, 2011, Pande was returning from Raipur to his village in Tilda by train. Usually, “The train was overcrowded and I pushed off from the moving train. My right leg got severed,” Pande told dna. For over two years, Pande hunted for ways and means to get a prosthetic leg or a blade so that he would be able to run again.
“After extensive search on the Internet, I came across service providers who could enable fitting of blades. However, it was an expensive proposition. Later, I came in touch with Dakshin Rehab team in Hyderabad that funded the cost of my prosthesis and gave me a fresh lease of life,” said Pande.
He now has set his eyes on the first position at Paralympics to be held in 2014 in South Korea practices running with his blade for at least three to four hours.