Para-cyclist Aditya Mehta is a man on a mission. Having captured the attention of many following his inspiring ride from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in 36 days, over a distance of 3,800km in 2013, Mehta is currently undergoing his most adventurous expedition — from Manali to Khardunga La.
Mehta is a twin silver-medallist at the Asian Para-Cycling Championships held in Delhi last year and the 31-year-old is now eyeing a podium finish at the Asian Para Games in October.“The Manali-Khardungla ride is a part of my training. It will add to my endurance as we are riding at very high altitude. Post this, I will start practising in Hyderabad,” he said.
For Mehta, whose leg was amputated above the right knee following a bus accident in 2005, these expeditions are part of a mission — to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the differently-abled and helping them achieve their dreams — through the Aditya Mehta Foundation.
The foundation provides artificial limbs to amputees, sport equipment required for the differently-abled and even supports their education.“I want to do something for the differently-abled. They are always ignored. You can see this in sports too. If an abled-bodied sportsperson wins any medal, he is bestowed with benefits by the government but what about us? Our achievements are not even considered,” a baffled Mehta, who had made into the Limca Book of Records in 2013 and 2014, told this paper.
Not only this, Mehta has been in talks with the Telangana government to set up a sports academy for the differently-abled.“There are many sports academies for the abled athletes in the country. But despite medal-winning efforts, there is no infrastructure or facilities for us. I have put up a proposal before my state government to set up a sports academy, so that they can get good facilities besides sponsors.
I have spoken to Telangana cabinet minister for panchayat raj and IT, K.T. Rama Rao, who is pleased with the proposal. Hopefully, something will come up soon,” the Hyderabad-based athlete said.The para-cyclist said the untoward attitude of the government and sports bodies forced him to take the step.
Despite being handicapped, Mehta’s spirit is sky high and he feels it is a blessing in disguise.“I am no more disheartened with my condition. And I don’t appreciate if someone is sympethatic towards me. I feel, I have an advantage now to show the world my capabilities.
“My father is a great inspiration for me. He is the one who keeps me going and brought me the confidence back after I was bed-ridden for months following the accident. “He told me it is my second life and that I am a fighter and should continue to do so.”
Asked what inspired him to take up cycling, Mehta said, “It was when I was recovering from the accident, I saw a billboard of the Hyderabad Bicycle Club. It motivated me that people like me are no less than the abled-ones and can do everything.”
For Mehta, however, it’s just the start and there’s a long way to go till he succeeds in his mission to help the disabled across the country.
source : http://www.asianage.com/other-sports/aditya-mehta-aims-podium-finish-233