DINGBOCHE, May 25: Sudip Kulung couldn´t fulfill his dreams of pursuing higher education but has found a new beginning in sports. The 23-year-old athlete´s life has changed dramatically due to the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, which he has been participating since 2008.
Earlier, he used to work as a porter in the trekking industry after he had to abandon his studies and was forced out of his village due to Maoist insurgency. But now he has been dedicating his full time for athletics since securing the second position in the Everest Marathon last year.
“After finishing second in the Everest Marathon last year, I got sponsors to participate in international marathons and I have been taking part in different races since 2010.”
He has no other job now and is managing his livelihood by winning races, most of them marathons and half marathons. He also secured second position in a half marathon in Malaysia in 2010 and bagged a purse of $4,000.
And now he is funding for the studies of his four sisters with the rewards that he has been receiving.
“I had a keen desire to study but my parents sent me away to work after the Maoists came in our village looking for recruits. Now I don´t think I can study anymore because I´ve lost interest. But I want my sisters to study,” said Kulung, the only son in his family.
Kulung also secured first position in a 100km ultra-marathon held in Pokhara in January this year and received Rs 50,000.
He is one of the very few athletes who seem satisfied being a sportsman. “I´ve been managing my family´s expenses through sports. But I´ve to win races for that,” he says.
Everest Marathon Participant Sudeep Kulung (L) receives chest number from Olympin Krishna Bahardur Basnet, race director of Tenzing Hilary Everest Marathon at Dingboche in Solukhumbu on Tuesday, 24 May 2011. (Photo: Dipesh Shresstha)
He is once again gearing up for the Everest Marathon this season and hopes to defend the feat that he achieved last year.
“I don´t think I can secure the first position because I´ve been living in Pokhara for about a year. But I´ll try to finish second this time too,” he said.
“Everest Marathon is quite risky because of the high altitude and the rocky path. It´s dangerous because we might get injured if we fall down,” he added saying that participating in marathons has improved his health a lot.
Kulung is the first Nepali to register his name for the Everest marathon this year. Others have not come forward yet but are expected to join soon.
Thirty-eight foreigners have already received their chest-numbers for the marathon scheduled to be held on May 29, the day when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa had scaled the world´s highest summit 58 years ago.