BANGALORE: A Bangalorean has brought laurels to India in an adventure sport against all odds. Coming from a very humble background, Manikanandan Kumar (Mani) has won silver medals at the World Rock Climbing Championships in Gijon, Spain (Para climbing category) and before that a silver in the Para Climbing Cup in Austria during August 2014.
Mani, who left recently for London for a World Para meet said, "I hope to do well again and it's my goal to win as many medals as possible for India in para climbing."
Mani, who is a polio victim, has a deformity in his right leg. He decided to pursue a career in adventure sports against the advice of his parents. He started climbing in 2001 and almost immediately started competing despite the fact that there was no 'Para climbing' category in India.
Though he did not win any medals immediately, experts opined that he was a talent to be watched. After many years of spirited training, Mani finally got to represent India in the World Rock Climbing Championships 2012 in France and he went on to win a gold medal.
In 2013, in the Para Climbing Cup Series, he clinched a silver and in London Open 2013, he won a silver.
This year he has gone on to win two silver medals and is on the way to become a legend in adventure sports. The journey of Mani has always been a struggle.
Mani's parents, who were initially reluctant to support him, now encourage him to pursue climbing. Support from family, well wishers and the Sports Department has ensured that Mani participates in international competitions.
Inspired by his achievements, Bangalore-based Urban Climbers, which is promoting climbing activities in an organised manner, has partnered with Mani and supports him to participate in as many tournaments as he can.
Commenting on the achievements of Mani, Chandrasekhar M, Founder, Urban Climbers, said, "We are proud of the achievements of Mani in various international climbing tournaments and we are sure with right support and mentoring he has the potential to become a champion climber. Mani can be an inspiration for a whole new generation as climbing is a sport that makes children ready for challenges that life throws at them."