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Marathon's young achiever

Harini Rana | February 15, 2004 16:02 IST

The Standard Chartered Mumbai International Marathon witnessed new records and young achievers on Sunday.

The thousands who thronged the finsh line came alive and joined their hands in unision when 13-year-old Yogesh Patil successfully completed the half marathon, covering the gruelling 21.097 km course bare feet.

He was directly taken to the health care center as he could not walk because of cramps in both his legs.

After recuperating, he just tried to soak the fact of being the youngest in the marathon.

He was elated to know that he had beaten Anil Ambani, the head honcho of Reliance Industries.

"I saw him running but I am happy that I have done well as I was able to finish it," Patil said.

Yogesh Manohar Patil, studying in Class 7 came from Khargaon-Roha in Raigad District, Maharashtra. He learnt about the marathon through his aunt who stays in Mumbai and the advertisements that were splashed all over India on television.

"I wanted to take part in the Dream Run (7 kms), but since the entries were full I had to take part in the half marathon. My whole family is interested in running. I was inspired to take part in the marathon because of my elder brother, who was the first one to register.

"I trained everyday for three hours after returning from school. I never thought that I would finish, but with God's grace, I was able to successfully complete the half marathon," he said proudly.

The shy youngster seemed nervous talking to media, but his mother tongue and a chocolate made him more comfortable.

"I always wanted to make it big in running. I try to make the most of the facilities that are available back home. Also, since there is too much of craze for cricket in India we cannot see many marathons on television and it is because of that the young aspirant is ignorant about other international athletes," he said in Marathi.

"P.T Usha is my role model; I had a chance to meet her when she had come to Alibaug for some prize distribution ceremony. I could not speak to her but we shook hands. And, of course, I admire Sachin Tendulkar as well; he is also my icon.

"I will make it big one day though I do not have financial support now to train myself. My father is the only earning member in our family," he said when asked about moving down to Mumbai with view of better facilities and infrastructure.

A young mind with desire to make it big someday is this Indian who believes 'I can do it'!

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