Merga, Mergia to defend crown

'All steps will be taken to provide adequate security measures'

Merga, Mergia to defend crown

“It is always heartening when the defending champions come back,” said Vivek B Singh, Joint Managing Director of Procam International, the promoters of the ‘Gold Label’ status event, at a press conference here on Wednesday.

“Apart from them, 2008 women joint winners -- Elvan Abeylegesse and Grace Monmayi -- have also confirmed their participation for the event which we hope will only get better.”
Among the men expected to stretch Ethiopa’s Merga to the distance are 2008 runner-up Moses Kipsiro, 2009 bronze medallist Kiprotich Wilson Kipsang and 2005 World Half Marathon champion Fabiano Joseph. Last edition’s bronze medallist Aberu Kebede, 2000 African Championship winner in 5000M Asmae Leghzaoui, Mestawet Tufa and Olivera Jevtic are few of the confirmed elite women athletes.

IM Vittala Murthy, Secretary of Youth Services and Sports, said security has been tightened in view of the recent bomb blasts in the City that resulted in the shifting of Indian Premier League semifinals from Bangalore to Mumbai. 

“We’ve had a meeting with City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari and BBMP officials on Tuesday. All steps will be taken to provide adequate security measures. Until last year, the State Government was just providing outside support but this year we have become partners with the organisers,” said Murthy.

Responding to question on whether the routes will be changed for this edition, Murthy said it will be the same as 2009.

“I don’t think there will any major changes. With the event scheduled for early Sunday morning, traffic won’t pose much of an headache. Announcements for the public will be made much in advance.”

When asked if any athlete of international repute as been roped in as the brand ambassador, Vivek said and announcement will be made shortly. Nearly 10,000 participants have already registered with the organisers.

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