BHUBANESWAR: His doctors once told him, he won’t be able to walk anytime soon. So did everyone he met after a debilitating injury eight years back. Kamalakanta Nayak, paralysed waist down, almost flew on his wheelchair as he covered 213 km in 24 hours, breaking a 15-year-old record here on Sunday. Unwavering focus and grit gave the 28-year-old para-athlete an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.
He bettered the distance covered by Mario Trindade of Portugal. Mario had clocked 182.4 km (113.34 miles) at the Vila Real Stadium in Vila Real, Portugal, on December 3-4, 2007.
Kamalakanta started his marathon from Master Canteen Square to Rajmahal Square Cycle Track point. The attempt started at 4.30 pm on Saturday and was completed at 4.28 pm on Sunday. All through the wintry night, under the watch of the CCTVs and GPS, he chased his moment of glory.
The native of Puri was ecstatic. “I am extremely happy and extend my gratitude to all those who supported and encouraged me during this historic journey. My achievement will change the perception of people towards differently-abled persons. My next target is to qualify for the Paris Paralympics,” said Kamalakanta.
He completed the record with a total two hours break in four phases. Kamalakanta took first break at 9.30 pm (Saturday). The second break came at 4.30 am, third at 7.30 am and fourth break was taken after breaking the old record at 12.45 pm (on Sunday).
Kamalakanta clocks 213 km in 24 hours
Born and brought up in an interior village Niajpur under Brahmgiri block of Puri district, Kamakanta’s father is a farmer while mother is a homemaker. He is the second of the three siblings, the other two being sisters. His mobility partner Siddharth Dage said, it was very difficult to cover such a long distance in 24 hours. “The to and fro distance from Rajmahal to Master Canteen - approximately 1.14 KM - is the lap for super ultra-marathon. Kamalakanta covered 118 km in first 12 hours and rest in the second 12 hours,” he said.
The department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Bhubaneswar Smart City Ltd and city-based NGO, Betterlife Foundation helped Kamalakanta in his journey.
In 2014, the para-athlete, then 20, sustained a spinal cord injury while playing volleyball with his friends. With the injury of T6 level, his body was completely paralysed below waist. “After the injury, doctors told me that I’ll not be able to walk again in the near future. I was under depression for nearly a year. Whomsoever I met, the first reaction was that you can’t walk. Today, I have proved all that I can create a world record in marathon,” said Kamalakanta, who gives much credit to his elder sister for motivating him.
A total of eight cameras and GPRS systems were installed to monitor the event. “We will submit the details of the event to the Guinness Book authorities for the official announcement,” added Siddharth.