National champ at 13, Akhil aims high

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Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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The fastest Indian on wheels - Narain Karthikeyan - now has competition. Thirteen-year-old Akhil Khushlani of Hyderabad is busy rewriting the record books in go-karting. Akhil is India's national champion, competing with boys much older. He is now waiting to turn 16 when he can get into Formula One racing and take on the world's best. He is setting racing tracks in India ablaze with his speed. At 13, Akhil is already being billed as India's Michael Schumacher. It isn't too surprising if you look at his achievements. He is now the national go-karting champion in the 12-16 years age group. And in a six-hour endurance test, Akhil was first again, driving continuously for 4 hours, 15 minutes. Next month, he will be off to Malaysia to take part in the Asia-Pacific championship. "I am not scared of speed. My aim is actually Formula One, but for that I have to work hard, go to the gym, make my body," said Akhil. Go-karting is the precursor to F1 racing. Most enthusiasts hone their skills on the kart because one cannot get a driving license internationally till one is 16. The kart is considered ideal because you learn to control high speeds in a smaller vehicle. "Actually you cannot have a major accident. Even if you have an accident, maximum you will sprain or get a fracture. You cannot get anything very serious," said Akhil. The youngster loves speed and racing is in his blood. Dad Dinesh was into motorbike racing in the '80s. He wants his son to now emulate Schumacher, who also graduated from go-karting to international formula racing.

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