Leyton student promotes inclusive sports event that is the first of its kind in the world
A student who has challenged public perceptions of disabled people and become a champion for inclusivity has helped launch a new charity fundraising event.
Zishan Kinoo, from Leyton, is supporting Parallel London, an event that aims to encourage disabled people to be more active and more independent.
Last year Zishan, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and uses an electric wheelchair, wanted to take part in an established challenge event but found there was nothing that was accessible to him. Instead he decided to set up his own small-scale fundraising event, Move a Mile for Muscles, raising money for Muscular Dystrophy UK.
When Zishan heard about Parallel London, the world’s first fully-inclusive mass-participation run, he was delighted that he could take part. He told the Echo: “Previously there were no events I could participate in with able-bodied people, so we decided to organise our own event.
“We did a sponsored walk starting from the MDUK offices, going past London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. It was a really nice event. For me it was about the challenging myself as much as it was about fundraising.
“When I heard about Parallel London I thought it was a great chance to get involved with something bigger and share my story. It is an integration of able-bodied and disabled events, and it is happening in the Olympic Park which is just down the road from Leyton where I live.
“It is great to have an event like this where everyone can come together, regardless of your ability. You can choose what event you want to do, I think I will probably do a 5km race.
“Although the Paralympics is very successful, it has always been a separate event from the Olympics, and instead I’d like to see them come together. I don’t see any difference – they are both about competing for medals.”
Parallel London takes place in September in the Olympic Park. It is backed by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. It will include multiple running or walking distances, ranging from 100 metres to 10 kilometres, to suit different levels of ability. The emphasis will be on shared experience and “celebrating the spirit of togetherness”. Everyone will be able to participate in the run at the same time and at their own pace.
Entry to Parallel London is open to all via a public ballot. Anyone with a disability or impairment is encouraged to enter. Those without a disability are also welcome to participate. To find out more: