India's first blind solo paraglider Divyanshu Ganatra to participate in Mumbai Marathon

Published: Jan 17, 2020, 17:11 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Divyanshu Ganatra, the founder of a non-profit organisation, would be running with nine other visually impaired participants in the marathon this year

Divyanshu Ganatra
Divyanshu Ganatra

Every year, on a chilly Sunday January morning, thousands of Mumbaikars take to the streets to promote sports and fitness with the annual Mumbai Marathon. The event that witnessed over 46,000 people in the 2019, the number is expected to only grow this year. The most interesting part of Mumbai Marathon is the diversity in participating brands and communities and the causes they support.

This year, Divyanshu Ganatra, a visually impaired adventure enthusiast and India's first blind solo paraglider, will be running to promote the importance of sports in a specially-abled person’s life.  Ganatra, who is a founder of a non-profit organisation, would be running with nine other visually impaired participants in the marathon this year. And he would be running for what his organisation stands for–to promote inclusivity through adaptive adventure and sports activities.

Ganatra lost his eyesight to glaucoma when he was 19 years old. His anger and frustration over dealing with a sudden, difficult and dark phase in his life became overwhelming for him. At a time when even his ability to walk alone was questioned by people every single day, he went to a rehabilitation centre hoping to get equipped for life. He could not sustain there for long as the only career suggestions he was given were that of a telephone operator or chalk-maker.

Ganatra did not let his blindness come in the way of his passion for adventurous sports. As a nature lover, he revelled in cycling, climbing mountains and trekking, and fought against all odds to country's first visually impaired solo paraglider. He believes that a disabled person can do much more than what society envisages for him and only sports can bring people together, and dispel misconceptions about the inherent ability of a disabled individual.

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