Open field in the fray

Heavy Indian flavour in inagural meet; Gebrselassie to flag-off race

Open field in the fray

Devoid of international stars and most of the top Indian athletes, the Bengaluru Marathon on Sunday will be anybody’s race to win. 

With the organisers choosing not to dole out invites to elite world athletes and many top Indians recuperating following a hectic season, Sunday’s race wears a thin look on the competitive front. However, there will be a quite a few Indians who will be using it as a test event for next month’s Open Nationals in New Delhi.

One person who is keenly looking forward to the event is Kavita Raut. The 29-year-old, who missed the flight to the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games due to calf-stress injury, is determined to check the extent of her recovery as she attempts to make a comeback.

“This event has come at the right time for me,” said Kavita, who will be running only the half-marathon and holds the national record for the distance. “This is my first event since I recovered from the injury. I thought the injury really wrecked my career. But thankfully, I’ve recovered pretty well and hope to win tomorrow.”

Kavita’s main threat is Sudha Singh, who is coming into this event on the back of a fourth place finish in the 3000M steeplechase event in the Incheon Asian Games. Sudha has been in decent form this season and with Kavita making a comeback, she has a good chance to take the gold.

Among the men, Indrajeet Patel appears good to cross the tape first having enjoyed a fine year so far. He started with a first-place finish in the Mumbai half-marathon and has warmed himself up nicely in the CRPF and Gurgaon half-marathons.

“I’m very confident of winning the race,” said Indrajeet. “I’m not really worried about the result because all my focus is on the Open Nationals. That is going to be the important race for me. I’m going to just take this one easy but I am confident of winning.”

Although most of the top guns have stayed away due to various reasons, Sunday should be a day of celebrations for Bangaloreans. They have generally come out in numbers over the last few years for the 10K runs and around 11,000 will be seen in various races in this edition.

Usually, ‘A’ list names swap designer clothes for track suits but Sunday may be low on celebrity quotient as well. “The only celebrity who has confirmed his participation is Milind Soman,” said Reeth Abraham, the force behind the marathon.
“As I’d said the other day, we want to give our Indian athletes a chance to showcase their skills. That’s why we didn’t attempt inviting foreign athletes or celebrities. Maybe next year we will think about it.”

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