Kashmir to Kanyakumari: A special cross-country ride for para-athletes

Thirty para-cyclists pedalled the length of the country in 45 days to raise awareness about para-sports while simultaneously scouting for talented para-athletes.

By Rahul Venkat ·

On November 19, 2020, a group of 30 cyclists began their journey from Srinagar in Kashmir – the northernmost state in India – to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu – the southernmost state.

It was a gruelling 3,842km journey, one that took a month and a half, and meant that the cyclists had to brave extreme weather and challenging ground to make their destination on December 31.

The feat sounds extraordinary in itself and is even more special considering the group was actually made up of para-cyclists.

Riding through the country as part of ‘Infinity Ride K2k 2020’, an initiative of the Aditya Mehta Foundation (AMF), the 30 para-cyclists undertook the journey to raise money and create awareness about para sports in India.

The sixth edition of Infinity Ride saw cyclists interacting with several NGOs, specially-abled schools and conducted virtual meetings to educate people about para sports.

AMF founder Aditya Mehta, a former businessman who started the initiative in 2013 after his right leg was amputated following a bus accident, wants to raise funds for para sports development and scout for talent in the country.

“I had cycled the same terrain all by myself six years ago where I had faced immense challenges both mentally and physically but the love and support that I had received from everyone on my way back then gave me the confidence to start Aditya Mehta Foundation,” said Aditya Mehta.

Aditya Mehta after completing Infinity Ride K2K 2020. Photo: Aditya Mehta Foundation.

The cross-country ride, which spanned 36 cities, was led by Asian para cycling championship bronze medallist Harinder Singh and Asian Games track cycling bronze medallist Gurlal Singh, along with India’s only female para cyclist, Tanya Daga.

The ‘Infinity Ride’ initiative is also actively supported by the Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) – two of the country’s foremost defensive forces.

The BSF and CAPF help soldiers who are injured in the line of duty to train in para-sports and take the support of AMF to do so.

“We hope our awareness ride will encourage people to join and support our mission to find India’s best para sporting talents. We are glad that people have shown unconditional love towards us on our long journey. My aim is to groom champions so that they can play for India and become heroes,” added Aditya Mehta.