Girl who pedaled injured dad across India offered national team trial

Jyoti Kumari Paswan, center bottom, with her family in Siruhully village at Darbhanga district, cycled her ailing father 1,200 kilometers across India during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. (AFP)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Girl who pedaled injured dad across India offered national team trial

  • Paswan and Kumari arrived home on May 16 after covering 1,200 kilometers in seven days
  • Father and daughter’s arduous journey makes headlines

DARBHANGA, India: A 15-year-old girl who pedaled her injured migrant-worker father more than a thousand kilometers across India after a coronavirus lockdown left them destitute has been invited to try out for the national cycling team.
Jyoti Kumari rode a bicycle with her father, Mohan Paswan, sitting on the pillion and holding their belongings from Gurugram city, near New Delhi, to their village in the northeastern state of Bihar, local media reported.
They arrived home on May 16 after covering 1,200 kilometers in seven days.
Paswan, a motorized rickshaw driver, was among millions of migrant workers left jobless after the country was suddenly locked down in March to slow the spread of the virus.
With no money to pay rent or buy food and public transport halted, many walked or — like Kumari and Paswan — rode bicycles back to their villages.
The father and daughter’s arduous journey on a second-hand bike bought with their remaining funds made headlines.
It also caught the attention of the Cycling Federation of India, which offered Kumari the chance to try out for the country’s team.
“She covered this distance in seven days with her father and some luggage too. I thought she has something in her... that endurance level. We can try her,” chairman Onkar Singh said.
“She said she only wants to pursue her studies. We told her that we also take care of studies at our academies.”
The cycling body expects Kumari to travel to Delhi after nationwide travel restrictions are lifted.
Singh said the federation would test Kumari to see if she is suitable for competitive cycling.
Ivanka Trump, the daughter of US President Donald Trump, praised Kumari’s efforts in a tweet, describing it as a “beautiful feat of endurance & love.”


Russians rush to public bath after coronavirus lockdown without hot water

Updated 30 May 2020

Russians rush to public bath after coronavirus lockdown without hot water

  • Public baths only way for many Russians living in smaller towns to wash themselves in comfort

TUTAYEV, Russia: Russian women flocked to their small town’s “banya” or public steam sauna when it reopened after the coronavirus lockdown, for the luxury of hot water after going without for six weeks.
The public banya is the only way for many Russians living in smaller towns to wash themselves in comfort as older homes do not have central heating or hot water supplies.
In Tutayev, a town some 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow on the Volga River, only 71 percent of the 40,000 strong population have all the conveniences, official data shows.
“It’s a necessity for us as we couldn’t wash ourselves,” one of the first banya visitors, Svetlana Travnikova, said. “How is it possible (not to wash), pandemic or no pandemic?”
Another visitor at Friday’s first session, Irina Kutavtseva, said going to the banya was a festive occasion for her.
Receptionist Tamara Bryukova, donning a mask and clad in rubber gloves, said calls from those in need of a hot steam were coming non-stop. Naked bathing means separate days are set aside for women and men and next week is fully booked, she said.
People had to book in advance to limit numbers for social distancing and have their temperature taken at the entrance, administrators said, and the hall-like steam room was disinfected after each 90-minute session.
Public banyas in many other Russian regions remain closed as the decision on easing lockdown measures is taken by local authorities according to the situation on the ground.
Local officials in the Yaroslav region, where Tutayev is located, had recommended banyas work “without visitors or online” to prevent the spread of the virus, a decision which caused a public outcry at the time.
“Banyas working remotely without visitors is a joke,” Tutayev resident Vladimir Kolomenskiy said, “and when people can’t wash it’s a health risk too.”