Top Indian runners eye Paris Olympic tickets in Sunday's Delhi Marathon

February 23, 2024
India’s top runners including T. Gopi, Srini B. and Anish Thapa will line up along with over 19,000 athletes in the 9th edition of the prestigious New Delhi Marathon

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) India’s top runners including T. Gopi, Srini B. and Anish Thapa will line up along with over 19,000 athletes in the 9th edition of the prestigious New Delhi Marathon on Sunday (February 25) hoping to win a ticket to the Paris Olympic Games later this year.

Army Sports Institute’s Gopi (2:13:39), Srinu (2:14:59) and Anish Thapa (2:16:41) have been preparing for the event with an eye on the national record. In the process, they hope to achieve the qualification mark of 2:08.10 for the Olympics too. Nirmaben Thakor (2:47:11) and Ashini Jadhav (2:56:41) are among the lead female runners in the fray.

Adding a touch of star power to the popular run are Fitness Enthusiast Soha Ali Khan, who serves as the proud Brand Ambassador of the marathon, and cricket star Irfan Pathan.

Organised under the patronage of the Athletics Federation of India and Fit India, the Apollo Tyres New Delhi Marathon has risen in stature over the years and is recognised as the National Marathon of the country. Against the backdrop of the Delhi winter season, participants will embark on a journey that traverses the heart of the city, past iconic landmarks such as Humayun’s Tomb, Lodhi Garden and Khan Market.

With meticulous planning by NEB Sports, the NDM is poised to host an impressive gathering of 19,000 participants from 289 cities, 27 states and 19 countries. It ranks as one of the largest turnouts in Indian sport with 3000 gearing up for the Full Marathon, 7000 for the Half Marathon, 5000 for the 10K and 4000 for the 5K.

“We are happy to see the National Marathon receiving such a good response and are hoping that sportspersons continue to bring laurels to the country,” said Adille Sumariwalla, President, the Athletic Federation of India.

Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), Apollo Tyres Ltd., himself a marathon runner, expressed immense satisfaction with the overwhelming response from the running community for the event.

Speaking on the collaboration, Rajat Khurana, Managing Director of ASICS India and Asia said, “We are excited to kick-start this collaboration as the official sports goods partner of one of the country’s most prestigious running events. ASICS race day merchandise is exclusively designed to deliver high-performance footwear and apparel to enhance the running experience. I would like to wish every participant a fantastic running experience.”

Several NGOs have also joined the marathon. The Sai Vishwanath Memorial Trust, Bhayat NGO, and Guide Runners for the vision-impaired are standing together to champion the cause of diversity in sports.

Ankur Dhama, hailing from Khekra, Uttar Pradesh, lost his vision at the tender age of 5. Despite his visual impairment, Ankur, along with 25 visually impaired runners, will be taking on the challenge of the 10K race.

A team of six athlete ambassadors, along with their coach, from the Champion in Me program of Bangalore Schools of Sports, will be participating, showcasing their determination to combat stigma and discrimination of youth living with HIV. About 20 HIV-infected children from the “Positive Running Programme” of Ananya Trust, Bangalore will also be participating in the event.


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