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Sharmili Mallick

28-year-old para-athlete Kamalakanta Nayak is on a mission to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by covering 200 kilometres in 24 hours on his wheelchair. 

A resident of Puri district, Kamalakanta started his journey from Raj Mahal Square in Bhubaneswar at around 3 pm on Saturday. Bhubaneswar (Central) MLA Ananta Narayan Jena flagged off the event. 

The State Department of Sports and Youth Affairs and city-based NGO, Betterlife Foundation, are helping Kamalakanta in his attempt to achieve the Guinness World Record for ‘Greatest Distance covered in 24 hours in manual wheelchair’.

“I have been practicing for the last six years to achieve the feat and I am confident I will be able to cover the distance in a record time. I need the blessings of the people of the State,” said Kamalakanta before setting out on his solo run.

Durga Prasad Patnaik, the founder of Odisha Wheelchair Association, who is assisting Kamalakanta in his dream run, said “I am confident of his success. We have been planning to hold the event for the last 15-20 days and it finally happened today. Sports was never a career option for us, but we started playing so that we become independent. Otherwise, we belong to that extremely disabled category who need someone’s help all the time.”

Odia actor and social activist, Sabyasachi Mishra who attended the programme said, “The attempt needs a lot of courage and Kamalakanta’s efforts will be a huge confidence booster of many people like him. His attempt is proof that no obstacle can stop you if you are determined and passionate about achieving something.”

Before today’s event, Kamalakanta had participated in ‘The Ability Marathon’ held at Kalinga Stadium. He is the only Indian to have completed a wheelchair ultra-marathon of 139.57 km in just 15 hours.

Besides, he has participated in the 2- kilometer half-marathon for 16 times and 42-kilometre full marathon for 13 times. Kamalakanta was the Captain of Odisha Wheelchair Basketball Team.

He has also participated in the National Para Athletic Championship and National Wheelchair Fencing Championship two times each.

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