Hyderabad: At the age of 8, Virat Chandra Telukunta has reached greater heights that not many can boost about. The third standard student from Hyderabad has been awarded the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2022, for becoming one of the youngest to summit the Kilimanjaro.
The eight-year-old reached the peak of the African mountain along with his coach, Bharath Thammineni on March 6, 2021, after undergoing rigorous training for 75 days in the city.
“I am very happy and proud that I got this award,” shared an excited Virat, adding, “Last year, during this time I was training hard for reaching the Kilimanjaro summit. All my relatives, friends and even teachers called to congratulate me on the award.”
Virat’s interest in mountaineering piqued after he had a video call with his cousins, who were in the mountains at that time. Shares Virat, “My cousins, who are 16 and 13 years old, video called us from Rudugaira Mountains in Uttarakhand. I was fascinated with the mountains and told my parents I wanted to go too.”
It was only after a month-long training that Bharath, who is the founder of Boots and Crampons, an adventure and mountaineering company, decided to take Virat to Kilimanjaro.
The young mountaineer, who is on cloud nine, shares that he will soon start training to scale another mountain peak. “I am planning to scale Mount Kosciuszko next, which is the highest mountain peak in mainland Australia at 2,228 metres. We were planning to go there last year, however, we couldn’t because of Covid.
I am taking Yoga classes thrice a week to ensure that I am fit when we start training,” he said, adding that he plans on throwing a big party for his family and friends after the Covid cases in the city decrease.
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