Young runners take giant strides

ANNUAL event

Even before the first rays of the sun reached the earth, children in various age groups woke up and readied to leave their homes, not for school, since it was a Sunday, but to participate in the Salwan Cross Country Run organised at the Army Equestrian Centre, Delhi Cantonment.  

The 20th edition of this annual run, flagged off by Lt General Om Parkash, PVSM, AVSM, SM (Quarter Master General-Indian Army) was more special this time as it sawparticipation from 2,500 visually impaired and differently-abled children.

All of them ran along with Commonwealth and Asian Games medal winners Pinki Jangra, Mandeep Jangra and Arpinder Singh.      In one of the largest school run, in the country and the world, it was a sight to behold about 50,000 children from 800 schools from different parts of the country run together. The distance travelled by them was
calculated using the GPS-based chip technology and winners were declared in eight different categories – visually impaired, intellectually challenged (4.5 kms), under-14 Girls and Boys (4.5 kms), under-16 Girls and Boys (6 kms) and under-18 Girls and Boys (8 kms). All winners were also tested for dope and age to promote fair play.

The event was not just a marathon since the presence of dhol, nagaras and performances of Bhangra and magic shows made it appear like a carnival for the young.
“The response to the marathon this year is a testament to the enthusiasm among the children, who have gathered from all over the country to run and compete today. It is their passion and zeal which acts as the driving force for the run,” said Samrata Salwan Diwan, spokesperson of the event.

“Our main focus is the safety and security of the children, and we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Army Services Sports Control Board, the 5,000 marshalls and volunteers, and especially Delhi Police who have extended all their support to ensure
that everything went off smoothly.”

In the visually impaired category, Yogesh from JM Senior Secondary School and Meenu from Rastriya Vidyaanand Kanya Vidyalaya won in the boys and girls section, respectively. In the intellectually challenged category, Upendra and Foolan Devi both from Asha Kiran School won the gold medals.

While Kajal Hooda from SKV Dharampura and Amita from GGSSS Guman Heda won in the under-14 and under-16 girl’s category, Sangeeta from BDS Vidya Mandir made it to the top position in under-18 category. Similarly, in under-14 and under-16 boys category the winners were – Rahul (GSBV, Puthkala) and Avdesh Nagar (Govt Co-Ed SS Khichripur), respectively. The winner of the under-18 boys category was Nirmit Dahiya from Rock Field Public School.

For youngsters like Pawan Kumar from Salwan Boys School, Rajendra Nagar, who stood second in the under-18 boys category, “It was really inspiring to be here and run alongside so many other students from different parts of the country. I had practised quite hard for the past several weeks for the marathon, and am happy that I ended up in the top three in my category. I look forward to coming back next year,” he said.

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