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Kerala government move to hold marathon with disabled category welcomed

The government of Kerala is always a step ahead of other states when it comes to accessibility, be it in tourism, education or health. Now it has added yet another feather to it's cap.

Recently, the Kerala Excise Department conducted a marathon with the mission of making Kerala 'drug free'. Called the Cochin Monsoon Marathon, it had a separate category for people with disabilities for the first in India. The event was scheduled for last August but got postponed due to the floods.

The marathon was held in collaboration with Vimukthi, an initiative that reaches out to people, who are addicted to drugs and alcohol through counselling sessions and awareness programme. This government initiative is popular across the Kerala.

The marathon saw the participation of over 5,000 people, including politicians and celebrities. There were 10 people with disabilities who were present as well, many on wheelchairs.

We wanted this event to be an inclusive one. Transgender people are a marginalised community. But we made sure that even they participate in the marathon. This was indeed a successful initiative and we hope that the government of Kerala is going to do this every year-Devadas V R, Organizing Committee, Cochin Monsoon Marathon

Running is an effective way to boost mental and physical health and by bringing together people with and without disabilities, there was a push for inclusion too.

There was 42-km run, as well as runs of 21 kms and 5 kms for people who were first timers. People with disabilities took part in the 5-km run. The prize money ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 for each category.

Among the disabled runners was Sajesh Krishnan, the first blade runner from Kerala.

"I did the 5-km run along with people who did not have any disabilities. It was not an easy task for me during the initial days to run, but I did it with a lot of practice. I must say that this was a great initiative by the government of Kerala. It was inspiring to see a lot of disabled people come together for a cause. I'am sure even the organizers got a good response for the category for people with disabilities", says Krishnan.

Neeraj George, a para badminton player from Kochi, was also among the participants. George, a regular at marathons in the city, called this an inspiring initiative.

"I hope more marathons are introduced where there are exclusive categories for people with disabilities. This facilitates more disabled people to come outdoors and participate in such events. It also makes them confident enough to participate in sports events," says George.

Given the amazing turnout, his wishes are likely to come true.

ALSO READ: Kerala government's barrier-free tourism project reaches halfway mark

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