Mumbai resident runs his first marathon on Republic Day in Dubai with tricolour

Updated: Jan 31, 2018, 11:12 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

On January 26, when India was celebrating its 69th Republic Day, Praful Sawant went to Dubai to take part in the Standard Chartered Dubai marathon's 10 km run

Sawant completed the 10 km marathon in 1 hour and 22 mins
Sawant completed the 10 km marathon in 1 hour and 22 mins

You can't raise a red flag at Mumbai resident Praful Sawant's patriotism. To display his love for the country, the PR professional, 42, ran his first marathon on Republic Day, with the Indian tricolour steadfast in his hand – all the way in Dubai. On January 26, when India was celebrating its 69th Republic Day, Sawant went to Dubai to take part in the Standard Chartered Dubai marathon's 10 km run. "This was the first marathon of my life," said an exhilarated Sawant, I have always wanted to do something for my country. But, I am not in the army and cannot contribute much and be recognized for it. Taking part in this marathon was a good opportunity."

Not the best idea
And so, he went to Dubai. Sawant decided to run the entire marathon with the Indian flag in his hand. Before participating in it, some of his friends in Dubai warned him that displaying the flag there wasn't the best idea. "But I went with the intention of giving a chance to the Indians living there to celebrate the Republic Day with the national flag," said Sawant.

Before the marathon, Sawant had tucked away the tricolour in his bag, but half an hour before it began, he decided to remove and unfurl it. "I had a word with the policemen manning the marathon and they said it would be okay to run with the flag in my hand since this was a sporting event," he said.

Cheers from the crowd
Sawant added, "As soon as I removed the tricolour, I heard the crowd exclaim upon seeing the Indian flag in Dubai, that too at a public marathon. People started wishing me happy Republic Day, and more than a thousand Indians came to take selfies with me and the tricolour. When they asked me whether they could hold the flag, I told them there was no need to request me for it — it was as much theirs as it is mine." He completed the 10 km marathon in one hour and 22 minutes.

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