Nagpur’s well-known amputee mountaineer and adventure enthusiast Ashok Munne will be competing on his motorbike in Raid De Himalaya, which is world’s highest cross-country rally. Along with Munne, another amputee – Vinod Rawat from Mumbai – will also be competing in the race.
Raid De Himalaya is considered among the top ten toughest rallies of the world. It will take off from Leh on October 8 this year, and finish on October 14. Over 200 competitors participating in Raid De Himalaya 2018 will race over some of the most challenging roads in the Kargil, Zanskar and Ladakh sectors, speeding over rocks, gravel and dust.
The amputees, Munne and Rawat are competing in the toughest category at the Raid – Xtreme Moto. Racing motorcycles at high-altitude roads and mountain passes is a task few can accomplish.
People who know Munne aren’t really surprised at his decision to participate in Raid De Himalaya. Munne is a para-athlete whose achievements can dazzle any able-bodied individual. The 34-year-old is a mountaineer, an expert para glider, a scuba diver, a marathon runner, a black belt in martial arts, a skilled gymnast and kayaker, yoga expert and ace swimmer.
Ashok Munne, who lost his leg in a train accident in 2008, didn’t let the handicap limit his life. In 2012, he climbed the Mera Peak in Nepal, at a height of 6476 meters, without oxygen. In 2013, he drove 3,000 kilometers through Ladakh on his motorcycle. In 2016, he climbed the Everest and missed the summit by a couple hundred meters. He’s planning to scale Everest again in 2019. Munne is excited to fulfill his dream of participating in the Raid de Himalaya.
Speaking to Nation Next from Leh over telephone, Munne said, “I’m so excited to participate in the rally. I’ll give my 100% as participating in this rally has always been my dream.” Munne uses a blade leg. He is also the brand ambassador for two multi-national artificial limbs companies.
Just like Munne, Vinod Rawat has also been dreaming about participating in the rally since years. Rawat, who lost his leg in a train accident while he was a child, has been going to Leh since 2011 at least once a year to practice motorcycling so that his body got used to the demands of high-altitude terrain.In 2017, as part of his Raid preparation, Rawat went to Leh on a cycle all the way from Manali via Khardung La.
Apparently it was Rawat who informed Munne about the Raid. Thereafter, both decided to compete in it. Rawat says, “If two amputees compete at one of the most formidable motorsport rallies of the world, it would be such amazing inspiration for the disabled.” Rawats adds, “We want to reach the disabled and fill them with hope. When I compete at the Raid, people with disabilities will know that they don’t have to live restricted, fearful lives.”
Raid de Himalaya is the flagship event of the country’s premier motorsport club, Shimla-based Himalayan Motorsport. President of Himalayan Motorsport Vijay Parmar says that the club has always promoted the spirit of excellence in life, of achieving against all odds, by supporting para-athletes like Deepa Malik, Arun Bareja and now Ashok Munne and Vinod Rawat. Parmar says, “At the end of the day, without the possibility of an impossible challenge, the human being is nothing at all!”