"I was scared but all I wanted was to reach my goal," says Virat Chandra, the 7-year-old from Hyderabad who could be perhaps one of the youngest to have scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. He achieved the rare feat on March 6. Virat's coach Bharath said that he decided to take Virat for mountaineering after a month-long rigorous training. "Virat has that passion in him. He was very excited to train. Unlike many who quit midway through the training," says Bharath.
The 7-year-old says he was inspired to climb after listening to the inspiring stories of the experiences of his cousins.
"I talked to my cousins about their experience of climbing mountains. At that moment I also wanted to climb like them. I had a discussion with my parents about my interest, they approached Bharath sir, my coach, who trained me," says Virat.
Virat's mother says that he was excited at listening to his cousins and wanted to do something similar.
"Virat had a video call with his cousins once when they had gone to Rudugaira Mountains in Uttarakhand for a trekking trip. He was fascinated when he saw the place in the video call. Even he wanted to try something like that, says Virat's mother.
Detailing Virat's training, his coach says: "Virat took the training seriously and completed all the tasks including running and mock climbing with utmost dedication. The journey started on March 5, we were 100 per cent ready as he still a child and we could not take risks with him.
In between they took some time out to sleep and rest before taking to trek up the mountain again.
"We took all precautions and had decided that we'd return if he feels uneasy but he made us proud," said the coach.
"After beginning the climb on March 5, we reached the Uhuru peak of Kilimanjaro on March 6," says coach Bharath.
(With ANI inputs)