Stage set for Ageas Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon
Srinu Bugatha and Sudha Singh aim to attain qualifying mark for Tokyo Olympics
India’s top runners Srinu Bugatha and Sudha Singh are confident of attaining the qualifying mark for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics during the 6th edition of the Ageas Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon here on Sunday (March 7, 2021).
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, the two elite athletes disclosed the tough training regimens that they have been going through with their sights firmly fixed on berths for the flight to Tokyo later this year.
Srinu Bugatha, who hails from a farming family in Andhra Pradesh and trains at the Army Institute of Sports in Pune, declared that he was aiming to clock the required under-2:11.30 timing to turn his dream into a reality. “Due to the pandemic I have missed out on a couple of opportunities but I have also recorded my personal best of 2:18.36 this year which gives me the confidence to attain the qualifying norm,” he said.
Sudha Singh, a former Asian Games gold medallist in 3,000 steeplechase, also said that she would be targeting the national marathon record of 2:30.00 set by OP Jaisha to break into the Indian squad. “I believe that I have trained hard over the past year and I will put in my best effort to try and qualify for the Olympics tomorrow,” she said.
Recently conferred the prestigious Padma Shri, the Arjuna Awardee was felicitated by Honourable Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Kiren Rijiju before the press conference for her achievement.
Organised by NEB Sports, under the aegis of Athletics Federation of India and Fit India, as many as 1,000 athletes will be competing in the live event of the Ageas Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon, making it one of the biggest sporting turnouts in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. As many as 15,000 others will also be running in the virtual marathon from different parts of the world over five days, starting from March 7, 2021. The runners will be participating across the four categories of Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k. At the live event, Covid-19 protocols have been put in place to ensure the safety of the runners.
Honorable Sports Minister Kiren Rejiju mentioned “Sports is always a unifying activity that brings in positivity and cheer. Happy to see the 6th edition of New Delhi Marathon happening post the long lull due to pandemic. We wish Sudha Singh and Srinu Bugatha the very best who will be trying to achieving the qualification for Tokyo Olympics and break Records. We appreciate their dedication in training during these tough times. SAI and AFI have done a great job following all SOPs for conducting several events to ensure Sportspersons during this pandemic get a good platform to train and excel.”
“We are happy to see the National Marathon receiving such good response and are hoping that the sportspersons continue to bring laurels to the country. It is also heartening to see tremendous response from over 15000 runners participating in the virtual edition of this event” says Mr. Adille Sumariwalla, President AFI.
“It is wonderful to see the response from the running community for the Ageas Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult to organize live sports events over the past year, but it is very encouraging to see the tremendous positivity and enthusiasm from runners, not only in Delhi but across the country, who have signed up for both the live and virtual events,” Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, Ageas Federal Life Insurance, said.
Race Director Nagaraj Adiga mentioned “We have taken all measures to ensure the safety of the participants. We are happy to be back on this momentous event. Virtual Event is a new experience for us as organizers and we are glad that runners from across the country and outside are participating in the AFLI Circuit comprising events across 4 cities”
A number of India’s top runners, including Rashpal Singh (defending champion), Bahadur Singh Dhoni, Hetram and Nitendra Singh Rawat among men and Jyoti Singh Gawte (last year’s NDM Winner), Jigmet Dolma, and Tsetan Dolkar among women, will be seen in action.
Over 50 corporate teams, including Indian Oil, IndusInd, Cisco Runners, and 200 running groups have signed up for the AFLI Circuit which will see events in Kolkata (full marathon), Mumbai (half marathon) and Bangalore (10k).