Bangalore,12th October 2023: At the heart of the bustling WIPRO Bengaluru Marathon, amidst the pounding footsteps and racing hearts, a unique movement unfolded – AThlete Unleashed. It was a segment by the AssisTech Foundation (ATF) under the WIPRO Bengaluru Marathon to showcase the power of Assisted Technology (AT) in making running inclusive for the very first time in the history of marathons in India. It involved 18 people with disabilities running a distance of 5km. To create a supportive environment, CXO-level professionals from various organizations ran alongside the participants as buddy runners.
AThlete Unleashed was flagged off by Deepa Malik, India’s First Female Paralympic Athlete and the esteemed President of the Paralympic Committee of India at 9:15 am. Supported by state-of-the-art technology, the participants began the 5k run at Kanteerava Stadium.
Speaking on the need to revolutionize the marathon landscape by empowering disabled participants, Deepa Malik said “AThlete Unleashed is recognizing the transformative power of breaking down barriers and embracing tech innovation for people with disabilities. As President of the Paralympic Committee of India, I wholeheartedly commend the AssisTech Foundation & WIPRO Bengaluru Marathon for their unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity and empowering individuals with disabilities.
Moreover, as the Indian Contingent prepares to represent our nation in the Paris Paralympics 2024, events like these become more than just milestones; they exemplify our dedication to nurturing talent, breaking barriers, and creating a future where every Indian athlete, regardless of ability, can shine on the global stage.”
At the forefront of this Initiative are 18 exceptional participants, each with their own inspiring journey including Shekhar Naik, the former Captain of the Indian Blind Cricket Team and a Padma Shri Awardee & Deepa Narasimhan who boasts over 12 years of corporate experience, shaping diversity and inclusion strategies at MiQ, Dell Technologies and many more. Their story is one of triumph and self-belief.
The Role of Assistive Technology during the event was demonstrated by startups pioneering Disability Inclusion through tech innovation including Neomotion (providing a Personalized wheelchair and motorized add-on for independent outdoor mobility for locomotor disabilities), Symbiotic (developing Titan, the bionic arm for arm amputees), SignAble (providing real-time Indian Sign Language interpretation for deaf), Sensory ALL | AxcesAble Designs (providing Sensory Kits for people with intellectual disabilities) & SHG Technologies (providing Smart Vision Glasses for people with visual impairment)
Speaking on the occasion, Prateek Madhav, Co-Founder & CEO, of AssisTech said, “AThlete Unleashed is illuminating a larger narrative of inclusivity through tech innovation. We are igniting the belief of ‘Everyone has the ability to change disability’, driven by AT innovation, Entrepreneurship, ecosystem collaboration and technology for good that ultimately empowers every person with a disability.
Let’s collectively foster entrepreneurship and innovation, not just for the benefit of a few, but for the empowerment of all. With this vision, ATF has a mission to positively impact 5 million people with disabilities in the next 3 years. Let’s turn disabilities into abilities, one stride at a time”
ATF’s commitment to empowering individuals with disabilities are enabled through a strategic partnership with Runner’s High as training partners, a renowned authority in the field of running who ensured that individuals with disabilities receive not just training but personalized guidance.