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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hail the spirit of Chetan Korada - the racer

He exudes self-confidence and he is our own Alex Zanardi.  In a World where people sulk, he is amongst the elites who encompass self-belief and has a great self-esteem.    He is only 25 years and in Sept 11,  he emerged victorious in the fourth round of JK Tyre National Racing championship after race winner Ameya Walavalkar was found guilty of a technical infringement in the Formula Maruti category in which 27 cars participated.  The JK Tyre National Racing Championship was launched in 1998 with the Maruti Esteem saloon class and Formula Maruti class. This championship series is also considered to be the stepping stone for Indian Racing drivers who want to break into international motorsports. Several drivers have gone on to take part in international events including Formula One and A1 Grand Prix.

Not many would love to have an adventure involving a lot of physical work.  He claims that he does lot of paragliding, ride water scooters and go on treks. This youngster Chetan Korada has had  16 podium finishes in the 2010 Formula Maruti category. The 25-year-old started twelfth on the grid, but ended up finishing first in round four, despite the fact that most other racers had much more experienced than he had.  He has been trying to motivate young drivers who are interested in participating in professional races.  Chetan, who believes that the recent F1 races in India have opened up various new avenues of opportunity for racers, also believes in keeping himself fit. He works out for an hour everyday in the gym in his house.  There are many  youngsters who are in circuit,  driving fast aspiring to become champions – so what is the news ?   

You will understand his greatness when you understand him fully – when he applied  his racing licence, the doctors who had to clear him wondered if he would cause harm to others on the track because of his condition.  Chetan Korada walks with synthetic feet. Except for a slightly uneven gait, nothing betrays the fact that this young man has prosthetic legs. Especially when he tucks himself into an open-wheeled race car and vrooms around a race track.  

Due to an abnormality at birth, a new-born Chetan underwent bilateral amputation from the ankles down. Early in life, he accepted the fact that prosthetics were an integral part of his constitution. This realisation helped him quickly adapt to the world. When he was two-years-old, Chetan displayed an almost irrational fascination for toy cars. This man was born with dislocated feet, and  has been living with prosthetic limbs all his life.  That has not deterred Chetan Korada,  and his  condition has only made him passionate about challenges.

After three years of racing in the junior circuit — marked by a string of podium finishes — Chetan has broken into the big league. He drove the Formula Swift car in the JK Tyre National Racing Championship 2011 with impressive results.
The Formula Swift car, and earlier, the Formula Maruti car, that he has driven have not been specially modified for him. “Having prosthetic limbs does not put me at disadvantage any more than wearing a different-coloured shirt does,” says Chetan. “These artificial legs are a part of me and are as good as flesh and bone.”

He made his motor racing debut in 2008, when he competed in the MMSC Summer Cup. He managed a podium finish in one race. The same year, he ended up on the podium thrice in the JK Tyre Junior Championship. He dominated the MMSC Summer Cup the following year, winning five races and finishing runner-up in another. Impressed with his achievements, QNet decided to sponsor Chetan in national championships. In many circles, 26-year-old Chetan is recognised as a youth icon. . Qualified in business administration, he manages a family business of running salons and spas. Earlier , he was a DJ.”

Sure reading about him would inspire many others….   Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi is an Italian racing driver and paracyclist.He won two CART championship titles in North America during the late 1990s. He also had a less successful career as a Formula One driver.   In the aftermath of a crash in 2001, his legs had to be amputated but returned to racing less than two years after the accident  competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for BMW Team Italy-Spain between 2003 and 2009.  Switching sports, Zanardi took up competition in handbiking, a form of paralympic cycling, with the stated goal of representing Italy at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. In September 2011, Zanardi won his first senior international handbiking medal, the silver medal in the H4 (Handbike) category time trial at the UCI World Road Para-Cycling Championships

There are people who grumble and there are some who triumph against heavy odds !

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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