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SwachhAbility Run 2017 kicks off in Goa with over 2,000 participants

With a bouncy, energetic zumba, the second edition of the J K Cement SwachhAbility marathon officially kicked off on Sunday from Panjim, Goa. Over 1,500 enthusiastic participants took part apart from the disabled at the Goa launch. The marathon will continue to four other cities over the next one week.

The run began at the Sports Authority of Goa ground, and was held in two formats. One was the 10km run, which was timed, and the other a 3 km run, which was not a competition.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was at the event, used the occasion to reiterate the government's commitment to the Accessible India campaign. Calling the disabled an important part of society, he said, "the event brings together three important components - the disabled, the Swachh Bharat Mission and the Indian Army. The event is a grand success and I congratulate the organisers."

The run is brainchild of Major D.P. Singh, a Kargil War veteran, whose leg was amputated during action. "Our aim is to go into the interiors of India", said Major Singh. "We start with a big city and end in a big city, but our aim is to actually go to those cities where nobody organizes such events to give them a platform, to let the public see them in action and make the disabled feel confident about their abilities."

Many participants were first timers. "This is the first time I have taken part in the marathon and I wanted to see what the response from the disabled community was like", said Basavesh Sheeri, a disabled student who traveled from Bengaluru . He plans to be there at the final leg of the event as well, in Bengaluru.

There are some who plan to be a part of the run in all four cities. Like Prashant Sharma, a student from Haryana, who strongly believes that the marathon will help bring a change in society. "I think this will inspire both children and youth, to change the nation's outlook towards the disabled."

Svetlana Pereira has written this report for Newz Hook from Goa.

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