Meet the Red cycling from Mongolia to Old Trafford!

Wednesday 28 June 2023 13:00

A Mongolian Manchester United fan is aiming to cycle all the way from his home country to Old Trafford, to fulfil a lifelong dream of watching the Reds play.

Ochirvaani Batbold, who lives in Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator), set out on his journey in May and has already travelled more than 3,000km. He hopes to arrive in M16 some time in December.
Batbold is also an aspiring footballer, who has played for Bayangol FC, Ulaanbaatar City and Tuv Azarganuud in the Mongolian Premier League. Last season, he helped the latter club claim the Mongolian Cup.
His epic adventure was inspired primarily by two things: Ochiroo's long love for United and a heartbreaking scam which saw his football dreams almost crushed by a hoaxer offering a trial with LA Galaxy.
Ochiroo is currently in China, about to enter Kazakhstan.
The scammer eventually took £3,000 from Ochiroo and his family, which put them on the brink of financial oblivion until the story began to circulate and donations came to the rescue.
"I lived like a nightmare," remembers Ochiroo. "At the time, I was just thinking about becoming a professional footballer. I was very confident. When the fake agent contacted me, I thought I had a chance. Then he offered me the opportunity to become a professional footballer. I didn't want to miss an opportunity. 
"My parents trusted me and gave me the money I needed. But it all ended horribly. I was very disappointed. I had terrible thoughts in my head. I knew everything was fake, but I was too scared to tell my family bad news. 
"I still can't express in words the fear I felt then. I sat alone in the dark and cried a lot. I realised that my whole life was ruined. When I told my parents everything that had happened, they couldn't believe it. But my parents told me to stay strong... and many kind people have helped our family. Thanks to them, our family was able to solve the problem quickly. I was inspired by a lot of people."
In an attempt to break out of his personal rut, Ochiroo hit upon the idea of doing something bold – to help him achieve another of his lifelong dreams.
"I thought about everything again," he explains. "I promised myself that I would make my dreams come true, not just for myself, but for those who trusted me and always supported me.
"I love adventure and Manchester United, and really wanted to be proud of everything I’ve been through. Also, I want to do something that inspires others a lot. Then I can live without regrets. So I decided to cycle to Old Trafford. 
"I supported Man United since 2010. Whenever I watched TV, there were Man United matches and stories. That's how I met United for the first time. The first game I remember was United v Liverpool in September 2010 [a game famous for Dimitar Berbatov's hat-trick in a 3-2 win]. Also my uncle was a big Man United fan. So I supported Man United and especially Wayne Rooney. Wazza was such a powerful player. I loved his game style."
Ochiroo poses with a United flag by Sayram Lake in Xinjiang, China.
Ochiroo began his odyssey on 5 May and, as we speak, is currently in China, about to head into Kazakhstan.
"Now I will go to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France and England. I think I will arrive in December.
"There were many difficult days with cold, snow and rain. And now very hot days are continuing. As of today, I have traveled 3,000 km. Now I have to cycle for 9,600 km. The hardest day was a snowstorm! But I've seen very beautiful places – the best bit was the road to Sayram Lake in Xinjiang, China. I've also met so many good people. I feel so good about everything.
"I will end my story at Old Trafford, for my first time. I want to create beautiful memories that I will never forget."

Everyone at United wishes Ochrioo the best of luck for the remainder of his journey!