2 Hours 20 minutes is a Half Marathon time that most runners would be proud of. Yet Shailesh Kumar, 23 and hailing from a small village near Gaya in Bihar, achieved this time at The Wipro Chennai Marathon in January 2016 using a standard wheelchair that is not meant for any sport.
Lets get India’s fastest Wheelchair Half-marathoner an international-quality marathon wheelchair to compete at the Asian and world level with an eye on the 2020 and 2024 Paralympics.
Image: Shailesh on completing his first 42.195 kms marathon
He has pushed the limits by training hard over four years to become `India’s fastest Half-marathoner on a Wheelchair’.
Here's the list of the top timings by Indians in Half-marathons on a Wheelchair:
1.Shailesh Kumar , New Delhi, Feb 2017 - 2:15 hours
2.Shailesh Kumar, Chennai, Jan 2017 - 2:20 Hours
3. Shailesh Kumar, New Delhi, Jan 2016 - 3:15 Hours
4. Parthasarathi, Chennai, Jan 2015 - 3:20 Hours
5. Vaidyanathan, Chennai, Jan 2014 - 3:35 Hours
Accomplishments of Shailesh Kumar
- Half marathon runner on a wheelchair
- Full marathon runner on a tricycle
- Wheelchair basketball player at the national level
- Only wheelchair runner to do 10 kms back to back over seven days as face of the Swachh Ability Run (http://swachhabilityrun.com/)
- Most independent person with Spinal Cord Injury
- Independent Living Skills Trainer on a Pan-India level
- Impacts a few thousand persons (and counting) with Spinal Cord Injury
- Champion of several good-causes in his village, including the fight for electricity for his village that eventually came last year
- Volunteers at IIT Madras for projects that will benefit wheelchair users
The Ganga Trust wishes to raise Rs 4.25 lakh and help Shailesh with a world-class wheelchair to enable him to train towards Paralympic participation.
Summary:At the international level, wheelchair marathon runners are highly regarded and compete intensely to break the barriers.
- Alex Zanardi, a Formula-1 racer, who lost both his legs in a race crash (https://youtube.com/watch?v=KysP71KKzIc) in 2001, has moved on to become an acclaimed world-level paracyclist with his persistence and training.
- Tatyana McFadden, who was paralysed, and was given a few months live, has become the dominant international level wheelchair runner – she owns all the major titles that are there to be won, a long journey from a time her mother was poor to get her even a basic wheelchair.
Image: Alex Zanardi and Tatyana McFadden
No wheelchair user in India, despite a few lakh of them living on wheelchair, has had an opportunity to even imagine getting to the international level in marathon events. This is why the Racing Wheelchair for Shailesh is an opportunity not just for him, but also opens up possibilities for several other wheelchair users who are super strong.
Shailesh is young, strong and has a wonderful fitness ethic. With the right Racing Wheeclahir and systematic training by sports experts, be has the potential to do well at the International level and motivate more to join the journey in the years ahead.
The Racing Wheelchair would also enable therapists and trainers to understand the dynamics of such wheelchairs and develop appropriate training methods.
A holistic training program and nutrition support will be organized for Shailesh to give him the best possible chance.
The Racing Wheelchair for Shailesh has to be imported from the U S A or U K. This will entail an outlay of INR 4.25 lakh. Experts who have been abroad and understand the dynamics of such chairs will guide this purchase. A progress report on Shailesh would be provided every six months.
Take pride in sponsoring a person who is already making a difference to society.
Background of Shailesh:
A Spinal Cord Injury leads to multiple disabilities at one stroke. There is no cure for Spinal Cord Injury anywhere in the world. The effects are life-long.
A Spinal Cord Injury leads to loss of sensation, mobility of legs, hands and fingers depending on injury level, bladder control, bowel control, ability to have sex and pro-create, ease of respiration, temperature control and several attendant challenges such as bed sores and urinary track infection.
Shailesh had a Spinal Cord Injury at age 17 in June 2011 when he had a fall while his friends were carrying him in celebration of a sporting victory.
After a stint of training at the Mary Verghese Institute of Rehabilitation, an integral part of Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Shailesh always had a smile on his face and worked extremely hard on his fitness and strength.
For him learning did not stop at the rehab centre, but he continued to pick up skills and more efficient ways of living with Spinal Cord Injury.
Volunteering for a few hours at the school every day, reading and guiding the children, roping in more educated students as volunteers, conducting tree plantation programs, temple building, taking efforts to improve quality of education at the school, doing tuitions, helping in post-harvest work and training & participating in sports, Shailesh does good work in his village.
He writes good poetry and helps his sister with her tailoring work. He has become so good at Living Well with Spinal Cord Injury that he has been recruited in a pioneering role of Inclusion Trainer at Chandigarh Spinal Rehab, a role in which he does training in Independent Living and Peer Mentoring.
Image: Shailesh - the solo rider
DETAILS OF THE WHEELCHAIR
The Invacare Top End Eliminator OSR Racing Wheelchair is the top choice for champion racers. The relaxed head tube angle and the super-stiff, roll-formed horizontal main tube provide exceptional stability and aerodynamics.
- Standard of kneel-only frame style
- Three cage choices for a custom fit: U, Open V, I
- Aluminum side panels for durability
- Adjustable aerodynamic steering bars
- Four rear seat heights offered: 15", 16", 17", 18"
- Product Weight Capacity: 250lbs
- Warranty: Limited warranty- 2 years
- Overall Length: 64" to 78"
- Seat Height: 15" - 18"
- Camber Angle: 11, 12, 13 or 15 degrees.
ABOUT THE GANGA TRUST
Elango Thambiah and S Vaidyanthan, Alumnus of IIM Bangalorre, and Nath Balakrishnan, Alumnus of S P Jain Institute of Management started the Ganga Trust, which supports rehabilitation of persons with Spinal Cord Injury, on September 03, 2009. S Vaidyanathan has first-hand experience of living with Spinal Cord Injury for 26 years.
The Ganga Trust is an idea inspired by Dr Suranjan Bhattacharji, a Gandhian, who has devoted his entire life to the cause of persons with disabilities across India. Vaidyanathan is in charge of the ground-level work of The Ganga Trust. The work of The Ganga Trust has had an impact on the lives of several thousand persons with Spinal Cord Injury across India.
Risks and challenges
DISCLAIMER : The wheelchair that we propose to get for Shailesh is the model shown in this campaign. As these need customization we may slightly modify the final model we procure for him. This maybe slightly different from the visual shown in this campaign .
Q1) How does crowdfunding work?
Crowdfunding in India is a relatively new concept & is growing very quickly.
It’s s concept that allows a large number of funders (like you) to fund an Idea or a cause or event by giving small amounts of money online. Fueladream is a crowdfunding site and platform in India that allows for such a pooling of funds.
You can fund innovations & ideas on FuelADream and be the first to get these products or make them come true. You can also do a good turn by funding charities and causes through crowdfunding. When you fund a charity it’s more like a donation & you get small innovative rewards like a shout-out on a FB page or a thank you email from the beneficiaries.
Q2) Where can one follow Shailesh's work and Achievements?
Follow his Facebook page (and this is recommended to one and all, not just persons with Spinal Cord Injury) – Shailesh Kumar at