Melghat and Enduro3

H/l: After Enduro3, Melghat youths to launch similar race in village


Posted: Thursday , Feb 18, 2010

Pune: After participating in the National Education Foundation’s (NEF) Enduro3 Adventure Race for two years, around half a dozen tribal youths from Melghat are now planning to introduce a similar adventure race in their village, Chilati, on Children’s Day. NEF executive chairman Prasad Purandare, who visited Melghat in December last, had expressed willingness to provide all logistics needed for the initiative.

“We thought that Melghat youths who have overcome problems of malnutrition and unemployment should get exposed to activities like Enduro3. We discussed the idea with our volunteers in Melghat and finalised the first team for 2009 Enduro3,” said Jayashree Shidore, founder of Maitri, which sponsored the youths. The team could easily complete the race that included cycling, rappling, trekking and rifle shooting.

Maitri had sponsored their entry fee, food and other equipment, while the volunteers lent them their bicycles in both the years. The three team members in their 20s — Kalu Betekar, a Melghat youth who works with Maitri in Chilati; Nandlal Bhusum, a student and Jayantsingh Durve, a farm labourer, were determined to win the race this year. “We used to practise as and when time permitted. As none of us owns a bicycle, we practised on a dynamo in the village,” said Kalu, an ardent wrestler and kabaddi player.

However, luck didn’t favour them this year as one of their team members had taken ill on February 13 ¿ the first day of the race. “Despite the disappointment, we have experienced the race and the planning needed for it,” said Kalu.

According to him, the only sports played in Melghat are kabaddi, volleyball and wrestling. “Enduro3 gave us an experience of cycling, trekking, river crossing; which are never experienced by a Melghat youth. They are curious about this race and want to participate in it.”

Kalu thought of giving them a feel of the race as part of the Maitri’s Children’s Day celebrations. “We shall plan a similar activity on a smaller scale only for children in Melghat.”

Purandare said, “I am in touch with the Maitri office-bearers and wanted to see their work, which is why I visited Melghat in December. It is an excellent idea to organise a similar race for Melghat youths, whose day-to-day routine includes riding and hiking the mountains¿ The NEF and its volunteers will only be happy to help them with planning and logistics.”


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