HYDERABAD: Braving cold weather and displaying extraordinary determination and commitment, a seven-year-old city boy has scaled the Uhuru peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest peak in Africa. Samanyu Pothuraju, along with his coach, unfurled the Tricolour at a height of 5,895 m above the sea level on April 2.
At the tender age of seven, Pothuraju has already climbed the base camp of Mt Everest in September last year and developed an interest in mountaineering since then. “He had little experience in mountaineering, but that did not stop him from scaling Mt Kilimanjaro,” said a jubilant Thammineni Bharath, Pothurajus’ coach on his achievement.
Pothuraju was accompanied to the highest peak by his mother Lavanya, coach Thammineni Bharath, Shangabandi Srujana, a fellow mountaineer and another woman, all from Hyderabad. A local doctor from Tanzania too accompanied the team. The trek started on March 29 when the group started from the base point. It took about five days for Pothuraju and others to scale the peak.
“I feel proud on achieving the feat. It was different and difficult but I enjoyed it doing,” said an elated Pothuraju. When asked which experience was better, he replied that the experience of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro was different as there was snow all through the trek which was, otherwise, missing at the base camp of Mt Everest.
For Pothuraju, it all started with a mountaineering event hosted by his school, explains his mother Lavanya. “His peer group and a mountaineering event hosted by his school inspired him to take up mountaineering. His coaches at school suggested that he was strong and had a lot of potentials and that’s how Mt Kilimanjaro came into the picture,” she said. However, it was not a cakewalk for the young boy as he had to overcome several hurdles in dealing with fatigue due to the increasing altitude.
“We used to wake up at about 3 a.m, and after walking for a few kilometres, Pothuraju would say that he was feeling sleepy. It only required a little motivation to regain his confidence,” Bharath said.
At 2,281 days old, Pothuraju could become the youngest in the world to scale Mt Kilimanjaro. Currently, the record is held by Montanna Kenney from the USA as she, recently, created the record by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro when she was 2,284 days old. Currently down with fever, he wants to achieve more before he is 10.