A natural in barefoot running

A natural in barefoot running
Nanyang Polytechnic student Nabin Parajuli came in second at the inaugural 8km Hong Bao Run in February. His sister, Rita, and his mother, Madam Isha, often cheer him on at competitions.

The trend of barefoot running which final-year hospitality student Nabin Parajuli sparked in his Nanyang Polytechnic athletics team came naturally to him.

The 21-year-old Nepal-born Singapore permanent resident started running without shoes for a simple reason - he did not have the right pair of shoes when he joined the school team two years ago.

"For me, it might have been comfortable to run without shoes because my feet were already used to it," says Nabin, who came in second at the inaugural 8km Hong Bao Run in February, only three seconds behind Mok Ying Ren, last year's South-east Asian Games marathon gold medallist.

Growing up in Nepal, he was an active child who climbed trees and picked fruit with his friends.

"In two or three minutes, he would climb a 50m-tall tree," says his mother, Madam Isha Parajuli, 42, owner of a dried goods store here.

"I was very scared he'd fall down, and marked trees with paint to stop him from going up," she says.

She adds that he stopped climbing when he was about 10 years old, and has grown up to be a filial child who would even take care of her when she was ill.

"When I'm sick, he says 'Mummy, I'll help you.' He also cooks for me," she says.

Now, Nabin and his older sister, human resource assistant Rita Parajuli, take turns helping out at their mother's store at night.

The family live in a four-room flat in Joo Seng Road. Nabin's parents decided to come to Singapore in 2007 for work, as well as for their children's education.

Nabin's father, Mr Prabhakhar Parajuli, 45, is a businessman who has been working here for 15 years.

Nabin's parents did not approve of his running competitions at first because they were concerned that he might neglect his studies.

However, his family members now support him at competitions.

"When they watch me compete, I am more nervous," he says. "But their presence definitely motivates me to perform better."

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