Bangalore all set to host India’s first 24H Asia, Oceania Ultra Running Championships

Bangalore all set to host India's first 24H Asia, Oceania Ultra Running Championships.

Bangalore, (Asian independent) Bronze medallist in the previous edition, the Indian men’s team will be hoping to improve on its performance in the prestigious International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU) 24H Asia and Oceania Championships to be held at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium here on July 2 and 3.

Taking place after a Covid-forced break of three years, the event marks the first International Ultra Running Championship to be held in India and will see participants from several countries, including Australia, Chinese Taipei, Poland, Lebanon, Mongolia, U.K and India.

The 2022 edition of the IAU 24H Asia and Oceania Championships, held in association with the IAU and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), will act as a qualifying event for the IAU 24H World Championships in Chinese Taipei next year.

In the previous edition of the event, held in December 2018 in Chinese Taipei, the Indian men’s team had secured the bronze medal by jointly covering 645.936 km in the 24 hours. They will hope to not only repeat that performance but also do one better as they run shoulder to shoulder with international Ultra runners on their home turf.

India will field a strong team of 12 ultra-runners, led by Amar Singh Devanda, who had secured a personal best distance of 240.8 km in a 24-hour run during the Bengaluru Stadium Run in August 2021. He also logged the fastest time of 7 hr 32 min by an Indian in the 100 km Ultra Marathon. Other Indian participants include Saurav KR Ranjan (PB: 230.16 km), Geeno Antony (PB: 227.2 km) and Preeti Lala (PB: 193.6 km).

Among the international Ultra runners participating this weekend, the ones to watch out for include Australia’s Stephen Redfern (245.566 km), Matt Griggs (244.087 km), Joe Ward (242.627 km) and Poland’s Tomasz Pawlowski (248.097), the IAU informed in a release on Friday.

The Ultra Distance Race will begin on Saturday, July 2 at 8:00 am IST at the Kanteerava Stadium’s 400m synthetic track and will continue till 8:00 am on Sunday, July 3. Participants will change the running direction every four hours and individual distance lists will be declared on an hourly basis.

“This is a historic moment for India and I am glad that we will be able to mark it through one of the youngest and most dynamic athletic disciplines: Ultrarunning,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla was quoted as saying in a release.

“We are delighted to support the IAU 24H Asia and Oceania Championships. We hope the Indian team takes advantage of the event taking place in the country and will qualify for the IAU 24H World Championships,” Karthik Raman, CMO of Ageas Federal Life Insurance, said.

“For the very first time in thirty-eight years, IAU is coming to India for a major championship. This has been a culmination of several years of hard work. We are very excited to bring this event to India and appreciate the fact that this will further elevate the sport in the country,” Nadeem Khan, the IAU president, said.

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