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Thane witnesses first ever wheelchair race today

In a move to promote inclusion, the Sheth Half Marathon, an annual event in Thane, will also have a wheelchair race. Among the participants are some of Mumbai's top para sportspersons from the fields of cricket, tennis and basketball.

Over 2,000 runners from across Maharashtra are set to participate in the 2019 Sheth Half Marathon today. The 21-km run, co-organised by Joints N Motions and Viviana Mall, has seen a 30% increase in registrations this year.

There are 600 runners competing in the half marathon, 1,200 in the 10-km run and 350 runners in the 6-km run. And for the first time, there is a 2-km wheelchair race as well. Thirty participants, members of the NGO Nina Foundation, which supports people with spinal cord injuries, are taking part in this segment.

Among them is Nisha Gupta, member of Maharashtra's wheelchair basketball team. "I have taken part in marathons earlier and as a sportsperson I am always excited to be a part of such events. I am grateful to Nina Foundation for being a part of this event.

Along with Nisha, there will be her fellow team member Khushi Ganatra and Maharashtra wheelchair cricket captain Surendra Kasare taking part as well. There's also 59-year-old Sunil Javkar, the oldest participant in the wheelchair race category.

Dr Ketna Mehta, founder, Nina Foundation, is happy to see so many people with spinal cord injuries taking part in this run.

The Nina Foundation's mission is to rehabilitate across seven levels of spinal cord injuries and it is such a proud moment to see people who were not stepping out of their homes, not leading an active lifestyle or taking acre of themselves, even people who had never played a sport, all eager to climb higher and higher peaks. We are indeed happy that 30 of our participants are taking part - Dr Ketna Mehta, Founder, NGO Nina Foundation

Organisers hope the spotlight will create greater awareness about the potential of people with disabilities. "With the inclusion of Thane's first ever wheelchair race, we strongly feel that it'll bring to light the talents of people who use a wheelchair for their day to day mobility, said Maulik Sheth, Director, Ashwin Sheth Group.

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