Youngster to take up solo cycling from Chennai to Bhutan

S Sathish Kumar trying his hand at the bicycle presented by Rotary Club of Chennai Korattur. His father S Shanmugasundaram is present.

Chennai: Cyclist S Sathish Kumar, who took up solo cycling from Chennai to Delhi last year has set on a mission to cycle all the way from Chennai to Bhutan, to create awareness on polio eradication.

Supported by Rotary Club of Chennai Korattur, he will begin his journey 23 February.

Rotary Club past district governor Nazer Isak will flag off the ride from Anna Nagar Tower Club.

Though a resident of Ramapuram, Sathish was brought up in Ashok Nagar, where he did his schooling at Little Flower Matriculation School and Pudur Government School.

His father S Shanmugasundaram is a tailor at Nallankuppam, Ashok Nagar, and mother Sekari Shanmugasundaram has been running a laundry shop at the same place for more than two decades.

Speaking about how he got the opportunity, the engineering graduate said, “During last Independence Day, my alma mater, Little Flower Matriculation School, felicitated me for my solo cycling from Chennai to Delhi. The school’s chief executive officer Ganapathy Suresh, who is also Rotary International Chennai District secretary, asked me about my future plan. I told him that I wanted to travel entire Europe, to which the CEO said he will connect me with all Rotary Clubs across the world.”

“I was waiting for a good cause and Bhutan struck me. Do you know that it is the only country in the world which has a Ministry for Happiness? Similarly, in Bhutan 72 per cent of the land is covered with forest. I wanted to share all this with the people. I approached Ganapathy and explained about it to him. He invited me for a Rotary meeting, where the members said the primary focus can be given to polio eradication and secondly on happiness and green cover,” Sathish said.

Polio has reached immunisation almost 99 per cent of the world’s countries, but remains in three countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. It needs to be eliminated here also. So, Rotary Club of Chennai Korattur came forward to support the project by connecting en route all Rotary Clubs.
Rotary Club has bought him a bicycle for Rs 35,000.

“While on my journey, I will speak in schools and colleges about eliminating polio. Since Pakistan and Afghanistan share borders with us, there are high chances of families along with children crossing the border and entering India leading to chances of spreading polio in the country,” he said.

Sathish’s journey will be along the east coast, covering Chennai, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Nepal – a distance of 3,232 km in 45 days. “There is a specialty in the distance to be covered. The Rotary International Chennai District’s ID number is 3232 and it has been planned accordingly,” he said.

“Though all Rotary Clubs across the country will be helping me in the project, I thank all my friends, especially Jai Seetha Sridhar for financially supporting me and those willing to help me,” Sathish said.

Sathish can be reached at 99406 21941.

Karthikeyan Halan