• Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Taking part at Paris Olympics is a dream: International Elite runners

The world’s leading International athletes, gearing up to set the course on fire at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K 2023, said their dream is to participate at the 2024 Paris Olympics and the race on Sunday will mark as the best preparations for it.

The US $100,000 prize money race, is scheduled for December 17. With equal prize money for the men and women winners, the first three in each race stand to win $7500, $5000 and $3500. The International Elite runners will be further incentivised by an Event Record Bonus of US $3,000.

The current event record, in the Men’s category, stands in the name of Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton with a timing of 1:12:49 while the Women’s record in the name of Bahrain’s Desi Jisa with a timing of 1:21:04.

The World Athletics Elite Label Road Race, will be headlined by 10K world record-holder Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw in the women’s category.

Making her debut at the 25K here, Yehualaw is the leading lady to watch among the women runner.

“I am ready to give my best in the race and come out as victorious. My preparations have been good and I am raring to go. My main target will be to participate at the Paris Olympics and doing well in it will be a great achievement for me,” Yehualaw.

Yehualaw sits second on the world all-time list at the half marathon with a time of 1:03:51 set in 2021, said.

Yehualaw tasted her first victory in a World Marathon Major at the 2022 London Marathon, becoming the youngest-ever female winner of the event.

Uganda’s Mercyline Chelangat and Kenya’s Betty Chepkemoi Kibet will be the main challengers for Yehualaw in the women’s field.

Kibet, who earlier trained with the Kenyan military followed by her stint with the Kenyan Police, is looking forward to taking part at the 10,000m at the Paris Olympics.

“During my training time with the Kenyan military, I hardly got to run. But now with Kenyan Police I am able to do so. 2024 Paris Olympics will be my dream and doing well at 10,000m is my aim. I will target participating in a marathon from 2026,” said Kibet, who has a half marathon best of 1:06:37.

While, Chelangat, who is on her second visit to India, is looking forward to the race on Sunday. In 2022, she participated here, where she finished the race in 1:21:31 and stood 3rd.

“This is my second visit to India. Last year it was a good race here and now I will look to better my effort. The Marathon in Budapest few months back was really tough. It was hot, humid and tough. I am happy to recover and give my best here,” said. Chelangat.

Chelangat also won Commonwealth Bronze Medallist and has won two national championships, said.

On the other hand, two-time world championship silver medallist Kenyan Daniel Simiyu Ebenyo in the men’s category will be the one to watch out for. He also won the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon 2023.

“I am thankful for inviting me here. It was a wonderful race in Delhi. It is good to be back in India and I am looking forward to the race. Generally I come from a place in Kenya where running is not popular. I with the grace of God have trained hard to be where I am today. I pushed myself to school and build up myself. I hope to do well on Sunday,” said, Ebenyo, who will make his debut at the 25K distance here.

Kenyan Benard Biwott and Ethopian Haymanot Alew will challenge Ebenyo to the race.

“I will aim to give my best on Sunday and finish in the podium. There will also be some good runners and I am ready for the challenge,” said Biwott, who participated in the half marathon and 10K across the world.

Alew also echoed the same. “I am aiming to finish well here. 25k is something new to me but I am confident. My next target is Mumbai marathon 2024. But more importantly, I am aiming for Paris Olympics as it is my dream,” said Alew.

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