All of us believe that nothing is impossible but when a close-to-impossible situation comes our way, we find ways to escape. However, there is a segment of people who go against any impossible situations and decorate them for a happier future.
One among them is Hyderabad-based Aditya Mehta who has a unique story of raising above the limitations that life threw at him. With one leg amputated after an accident, Aditya took a lot of courage to become an inspiration that he is today for many with disabilities.
Aditya chose to cycle his way ahead from his limitations which led him to initiate his foundation called Aditya Mehta Foundation to be able to reach out to and support many physically-challenged people in the country.
“I met many para-athletes who were suffering. They didn’t have any support to back them up. Eventually with the help of my Kashmir to Kanyakumari trip, we raised money for three amazing guys who were physically-challenged but were medallists already,” says Aditya. “It was then that my mentors gave me an idea of linking my rides to raise money that our para-athletes required and that is how the foundation shaped up,” he adds.
With a clear target of funding cycles and other props, prosthetic parts and for participation of these para-athletes in various competitions around the world, the foundation organises an annual ride event called ‘Infinity Ride’, a fundraiser where many para-athletes around the world participate along with able-bodied riders.
Started in 2015, the Infinity Ride has grown in its own way. “In the beginning, there were no para-cyclists as there was no awareness. I was the only one riding cycles. But this year, we had around 17 para-cyclists participating,” recalls Adithya.
“The best part of the ride is, able-bodied riders were dying to pace with my boys (para-cyclists). My boys completed the ride one-and-a-half hours earlier and said it was like a warm-up whereas the others huffed and puffed to get to the finishing line,” adds Aditya, laughing. Apart from Infinity Rides, the foundation raises funds through CSR activities and donations by general public.
The foundation also organises national training camps in various cities with the help of the armed forces where a para-athlete is put in a sports category suitable for him. “First, there is a counselling and then comes screening where we make them play different sports in around 22 sports for five days. Then, we train them in sport they are best at. Many such para-athletes have won medals for our country in Para-Asian championships and Asian games,”
says the proud Aditya.
“These give them the confidence of doing impossible things and feel useful, which is very important for anybody,” he adds.
With the recent Infinity Ride from Dehradun to Mana Pass, the highest motorable road in the world in August being a success, Aditya says he is planning something big in the coming months, but doesn’t spill any beans about it.