Cycle of charity
Mar 10, 2013 (Gulf Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
ORGANISERS are gearing up for one of the country's biggest charity events.
Hundreds of people are expected to take part in the 10th annual Bahrain Wheelathon, at the Bahrain International Circuit this Friday.
It gives people an opportunity to 'wheel' around the Sakhir Circuit using any non-motorised mode of transport such as bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, scooters and buggies.
Participants raise money by generating sponsorship. Charities benefiting from this year's event will be Bahrain Mobility International and Bahrain Down Syndrome Society.
It will be held under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first vice-chairman Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Wheelathon founder and organiser David Axtell said registration for the main and side events was free and the minimum sponsorship collection fee had been waived.
"Usually we get around 600-700 people coming but we have removed some obstacles that have been mentioned to me regarding the amount that needs to be donated," he said.
"It is always a fun event and families have come up to me saying that it is the best event of the year and that is what we try to do.
"It is a family fun day not just races, and even those in that race usually race against their own friends and it makes for a great time."
Mr Axtell said another difference at this year's event would be the fact participants can chose where they would like to donate.
"This year we are doing something new with the donations that will allow people to choose where their contributions go," he said.
"We have chosen to donate to Bahrain Mobility International and Bahrain Down Syndrome Society but what we have done is allowed people during registration to choose where they would like their donation to be made.
"We hope it will help motivate people to donate more."
The event also aims to allow people in wheelchairs to compete on even terms with able bodied competitors.
"It gives those in wheelchairs the ability to participate and integrate with society on level terms because everyone is on wheels on the day," said Mr Axtell.
"The main thing we want to get across by allowing children to race the disabled and for people to be on wheels is to raise awareness and give people insight into how difficult it actually is to be disabled."
The Wheelathon will include a hospital bed race at 1pm and the track will open for the rest of the events at 2.30pm.
Disabled sport events will also take place in which able-bodied children will have the opportunity to engage and compete in order to acquire an understanding of the limitations faced by the disabled.
This year's Wheelathon is being sponsored by GPIC, HSBC, Ibn Al Nafees, Coca-Cola and the International Hospital of Bahrain and supported by the Filipino Mountain Bikers Association who will provide on-track support. For more information or to sponsor the event call Mr Axtell on 39432133. firstname.lastname@example.org
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