I cycled from Mongolia to Manchester United's Old Trafford and got to meet my idol Wayne Rooney

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Ochirvaani Batbold’s challenge lasted exactly a year and took him through 19 countries.

A footie fanatic cycled 8,699 miles from Mongolia to Manchester to meet his idol - Wayne Rooney. Ochirvaani Batbold, 27, set off on his mammoth journey from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on May 5, 2023.

It took him 365 days and saw him cycle through 19 countries and spend eight to 10 hours a day on his bike. After crossing through Austria, Germany and France, Ochirvaani reached his destination exactly a year after setting off - on May 5, 2024.

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He said his biggest challenge on the journey was: "The cold weather, wind, and mountains. They were very challenging for me. But I appreciated the experience because it made me stronger than before."

Manchester United fan Ochirvaani Batbold , 27, meets Wayne Rooney after cycling all the way to the football club's stadium from Mongolia. Manchester United fan Ochirvaani Batbold , 27, meets Wayne Rooney after cycling all the way to the football club's stadium from Mongolia.
Manchester United fan Ochirvaani Batbold , 27, meets Wayne Rooney after cycling all the way to the football club's stadium from Mongolia. | Orchivaani Batbold/SWNS

When he finally arrived in Manchester after his year long adventure, Ochirvaani got to meet his sporting hero, Manchester United and England legend Rooney. This was arranged after Ochirvaani texted his old footballing coach about his plan and he posted on his Twitter with the club also contacted.

Ochirvaani, a professional footballer, from Bayantsogt, Mongolia, said: "He read my letter and it was really comfortable to speak to him. He is so kind and we spoke for about 20 minutes. It was like speaking to my friend and It was a dream and I will never forget that feeling. Manchester United is the biggest inspiration in my life."

When he headed to Manchester he went to Old Trafford and finally got the chance to meet his sporting hero for a second time having watched Rooney against Liverpool in 2010 when he was just 13. The game finished 3-2 and Ochirvaani's love for the football legend started.

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Orchirvaani camped in a tent while on his journey and crossed 19 countries. The total cost of the challenge was more £7,000.

Orchivaani Batbold, 27, cycles through London on his last leg before making it to Manchester from Mongolia. Orchivaani Batbold, 27, cycles through London on his last leg before making it to Manchester from Mongolia.
Orchivaani Batbold, 27, cycles through London on his last leg before making it to Manchester from Mongolia. | Orchivaani Batbold / SWNS

He said: "It was amazing. It was a long journey, difficult and challenging but the finish was amazing. It was an easy decision for me because for so many years I wanted this feeling, to see Old Trafford and to meet Wayne."

Orchirvaani said his favourite part of the journey was the "beautiful landscapes" he came across but he disliked the cold weather in Montenegro.

He said: "My favourite moments were always when I saw beautiful nature and landscapes. They gave me peace, comfort, and happiness. I met so many people in different countries. They were very kind and inspirational.”

When he arrived in the UK on May 3, 2024, he cycled through London, Milton Keynes, Luton, Northampton, Leicester, Derby and arrived in Manchester two days later on May 5.

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