MEET Chetan Korada, whose prosthetic feet don't keep him from hitting the accelerator

Chetan Korada walks with synthetic feet. Except for a slightly uneven gait, nothing betrays the fact that this young man has prosthetic legs. Especially when he tucks himself into an open-wheeled race car and vrooms around a race track. After three years of racing in the junior circuit — marked by a string of podium finishes — Chetan has broken into the big league. He drove the Formula Swift car in the JK Tyre National Racing Championship 2011 with impressive results.

The Formula Swift car, and earlier, the Formula Maruti car, that he has driven have not been specially modified for him. “Having prosthetic limbs does not put me at disadvantage any more than wearing a different-coloured shirt does,” says Chetan. “These artificial legs are a part of me and are as good as flesh and bone.”

Due to an abnormality at birth, a new-born Chetan underwent bilateral amputation from the ankles down. Early in life, he accepted the fact that prosthetics were an integral part of his constitution. This realisation helped him quickly adapt to the world. When he was two-years-old, Chetan displayed an almost irrational fascination for toy cars. “With my family encouraging me to take up sports, I was drawn to a variety of them — cricket, tennis and I even captained my school basketball team. However, the adrenalin rush I derived from motor racing overshadowed the excitement of playing other sports,” recalls Chetan.

He made his motor racing debut in 2008, when he competed in the MMSC Summer Cup. He managed a podium finish in one race. The same year, he ended up on the podium thrice in the JK Tyre Junior Championship. He dominated the MMSC Summer Cup the following year, winning five races and finishing runner-up in another. . “For the outset, I saw 2011 as a year of training and preparation. After the fourth round — where I finished first in a race — my confidence levels peaked. In Round 5 and 6, I was challenging the top pack of drivers but technical glitches and a crash thwarted my best efforts,” says Chetan, who however has no regrets about 2011.

Inspiring others

Impressed with his achievements, QNet decided to sponsor Chetan in national championships. In many circles, 26-year-old Chetan is recognised as a youth icon. . Qualified in business administration, he manages a family business of running salons and spas. Earlier , he was a DJ. Says Chetan, “I studied audio engineering and I deejayed for ten years. It was a passion and I enjoyed spinning the turntable and tapping my prosthetic feet to the beats I played.”