Odisha-based para-athlete Kamalakanta Nayak broke a 15-year-old record on Sunday, January 16, by covering 213 km in 24 hrs in his wheelchair, marking his entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The 28-year-old registered his name at the Guinness Record for the 'Greatest Distance' covered in 24 hours in a manual wheelchair, from Master Canteen Square to Rajmahal Square Cycle Track point in Bhubaneswar. On Saturday, he started at 4:30 pm and completed his journey at 4:28 am on Sunday. Nayak shared that his next target is to qualify for the Paris Paralympics.
Nayak has surpassed the distance covered by Mario Trindade, who had clocked 182.4 km (113.34 miles) at the Vila Real Stadium in Vila Real, Portugal, on December 3-4, 2007.
Suffered A Debilitating Injury
The para-athlete had suffered a debilitating injury eight years ago and doctors had told him that he won't be able to walk anytime soon.
"After spinal cord injury, suicidal thoughts would come to my mind. But family, coach, doctors helped me recover," Nayak said, according to ANI.
In addition, the Odisha Wheelchair Basketball Association along with a team of Betterlife Foundation assisted him to attempt the world record successfully.
Nayak achieved the feat with a total two hours break in four phases. He took his first break at 9.30 pm on Saturday. The second break was taken at 4.30 am, the third at 7.30 am and the fourth break came after breaking the previous record at 12.45 pm on Sunday, The New Indian Express reported.
Born and raised in an interior village, Niajpur in Odisha's Puri district, Nayak's father is a farmer while his mother is a homemaker. He is the second one among the three siblings, the other two being sisters.
The para-athlete was 20 when he sustained a spinal cord injury in 2014 while playing volleyball with his friends. His body was rendered completely lifeless below the waist with the injury of T6 level.
From Suffering Depression To Creating World Record
"After the incident, doctors told me that I would not be able to walk again in the future. I was under depression for almost a year. Whomsoever I met, everyone told me that you can't walk. Today, I have proved all that I can create a world record in the marathon," he said, adding that much credit goes to his elder sister for motivating him.
"It was tough to cover such a long distance in 24 hours. The to and fro distance from Rajmahal to Master Canteen, which is 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," his mobility partner Siddharth Dage said.
From not being able to walk to being a marathoner, Nayak has come a long way.
His eternal quest to resurrect life brought him across Dr P P Mohanty of the National Institute of Rehabilitation Training & Research, Olatpur.
"My sister and Dr P P Mohanty, Durgabhai, S Vaidyanathan, my coach constantly motivated me to come back to life and participate in para-athlete. I could not get up from bed, but they helped and motivated me so much that I can run a marathon," he added.
Run Marathons Across India
The para-athlete first participated in The Ability Marathon, in Kalinga Stadium conducted by the Social Security & Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities Department (SSEPD) Department, the government of Odisha. After that, he started participating in different marathons across India.
He is the only Indian who completed a wheelchair ultra-marathon of 139.57 km in 15 hours. He is also 16 times half-marathon runner - (21 km), 13 times full marathon runner - (42 km), and Captain of the Odisha Wheelchair Basketball Team. He also has a record-setting journey of over 4200 km on a wheelchair in 2020.