26/11 hero auctions his marathon medals to raise funds for fight against COVID-19

Written by Rahul Sadhu

Updated: April 16, 2020 1:11:21 pm

Praveen Teotia has now become an expert marathoner. (Source: Praveen Teotia/Indian Express)

A marine commando who was injured during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks is auctioning his marathon medals to raise funds for the battle against COVID-19, and has already contributed Rs 2 lakh.

Praveen Teotia was among the Indian Navy’s MARCOS marine commandos who were part of ‘Operation Black Tornado’ at Mumbai’s Taj Hotel in 2008. The Shaurya Chakra awardee took four bullets to the chest, suffered a serious injury to the right part of his chest and suffered damage to his left ear.

Today, Teotia is a marathon runner who has participated in events across the world and has decided to auction his medals to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

“After Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked for a contribution to the relief fund, I decided to auction 40 of my medals on online platforms. I have already managed to sell two of them and received a sum of Rs 2 lakh. It has been deposited in PM-CARES relief fund,” Teotia told the indianexpress.com

Praveen Teotia, 26/11 hero sells medals, coronavirus, pm cares fund, pm cares fund details, 26/11 Mumbai attacks, 2008 Mumbai attacks, 26/11 Mumbai attacks One of his medals. (Source: Praveen Teotia)

“These are medals that I have earned with my sweat and tears when I ran after recovering from bullet injuries suffered during the 26/11 attack. So I am giving them away and hoping to inspire others to contribute whatever little way they can,” he said.

“I believe in this fight we are all together. Let us not criticise each other at this moment and stand side by side,” he said.

When asked what motivated him to start auctioning his hard earned medals, Teotia said, “As a former soldier, I have always been taught to give back to my country. I come from a village which has given this nation 39 martyrs, eight freedom fighters and one former PM- Chaudhury Charan Singh. Since I am neither a doctor nor a medic this is the only way I can offer my services to the country in this moment of crisis.”

Teotia presently lives with his family in the village of Bhatona in Uttar Pradesh.

After suffering injuries in 2008, he was discharged from the hospital after five surgeries, but his hearing was still partially impaired. Unable to return to his earlier role, he was assigned a desk job.

Praveen Teotia sports one of his medals after a marathon. (Source: Praveen Teotia)

Determined to prove himself, Teotia began participating in marathons after retiring from the Indian Navy. Twelve years later he has completely nearly two dozen of them, including the highest ultra marathon in the world 72 km-long ‘Khardung La Challenge’ in Ladakh. The former soldier is also a two-time Ironman (South Africa and Malaysia) and in February 2020 his name featured in the Limca Book Records as the ‘first differently-abled Ironman of India’.

And despite the lockdown, Teotia is still ensuring he stays fit.

“I keep exercising, running inside my home and sometimes cutting sugarcane in the farm attached to my residence,” he said.

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