Gopi Thonakal (This photo was downloaded from the event’s Instagram page and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Gopi Thonakal, Phoolan Pal win gold in 10,000 meters at Lucknow inter-state meet

Gopi Thonakal of Kerala and Phoolan Pal of Uttar Pradesh won gold in the 10,000 meters race for men and women respectively, at the 59th National Inter State Seniors Athletics Championships 2019 held in Lucknow.

Gopi completed the race in 30:52:75 minutes. He was followed by Arjun Kumar of Uttar Pradesh for the silver medal (30:55:71). The bronze medal was claimed by Vikaram Bangriya of Goa (30:59:98).

In the women’s race, Phoolan Pal finished first in 37:00:52. Kavita Yadav of Karnataka got the silver medal (37:03:16) and Kiran Sahdev (37:10:58) of Maharashtra won the bronze medal.

Procedures made easy / India opens up 137 peaks to foreign climbers, trekkers

As per a circular dated August 13, 2019, India’s Ministry of Home has opened up 137 peaks in the Himalaya for trekking and mountaineering by foreigners. On its website, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) noted on the development, “ long years of efforts by IMF have paid off.’’

The move is essentially a streamlining of existing procedures. Related news reports said that previously foreigners had to get permission from the defence ministry and home ministry to attempt these peaks. Now with the new circular, they can directly apply to the IMF for permits.

Of the 137 peaks opened up for visit by foreigners, 51 are in Uttarakhand, 24 in Sikkim, 15 in Jammu & Kashmir and 47 in Himachal Pradesh. The list includes India’s highest peak Kanchenjunga (8586m), considered holy in Sikkim and therefore not usually attempted from the Indian side. Of four routes to the mountain’s summit, three are from Nepal. According to Wikipedia, the climbing route from Sikkim was successfully used only thrice. There are other peaks too in similar category. The modalities pertaining to such issues should be worked out going ahead, a senior IMF official said when contacted.

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Nine-member team to represent India at IAU 100k Asia Oceania Championships

A nine-member team has been chosen from among Indian ultra-runners to represent the country at the 2019 IAU 100 kilometer Asia Oceania Championships to be held on November 23, 2019 at Aqaba, Jordan, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said today (August 9) in a statement.

The team includes Anjali Saraogi, Darishisha Langjuh and Gunjan Khurana among women and Abhinav Jha, Deepak Bandbe, Sandeep Kumar, Suraj Chada, Tlanding Wahlang and Vikas Malik among men. Hemant Beniwal has been named as stand by for the men’s team, the statement said.

According to it, AFI had set standards, which included specific cut off times for races such as 50 miles, Comrades Marathon (up and down run), 12-hour and 100k. Achievements in a period of 18 months before the date of the Championship were considered and AFI specified guidelines for comparing performance across different races.

Races done during the period of May 22, 2018 till August 5, 2019 were considered.

Also, the athletes meeting the qualification standards were required to have run an ultra-distance race as proof of fitness between February 22, 2019 and August 5, 2019.

The team heading for the 2019 IAU 100 kilometer Asia Oceania Championships is sponsored by IDBI Federal Life Insurance, the statement said.

From the press conference of August 9 (Photo: Latha Venkatraman)

Over 300 runners to participate in the sixth edition of Mumbai Ultra

The 2019 edition of Mumbai Ultra – 12 Hour Run to be held on August 15, 2019, is likely to see participation by over 300 runners.

For the first time, the city’s original 12-hour run, now in its sixth year, will feature timing chips for runners.

Runners are expected to start running from 5 AM and continue to do so until 5 PM in a loop from Mumbai’s Shivaji Park to Worli Sea Face. The 12-kilometer loop will be shortened this year to about 10 kilometers because of the Coastal Road Project. Due to ongoing work on the project some portions of the original route are off limits, the organizers of the event said at a press briefing today, August 9.

Runners will have to undergo mandatory medical check-ups at the end of each loop. There will be four aid stations along the route. Apart from food and water these stations will also have physiotherapists at hand to help any runner requiring such intervention, the organizers said.

The theme of Mumbai Ultra this year is Run over Cancer and Wellness over Illness.

Coach, Daniel Vaz, is race director for the 2019 edition of the event.

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

AFI selects team to represent India at 2019 IAU 24 Hour World Championships

Ten ultra-runners – six men and four women – have been chosen to represent India at the 2019 IAU 24-hour World Championships to be held at Albi, France over October 26-27, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said in a statement.

The women in the team will be Apoorva Chaudhary, Hemlata, Priyanka Bhatt and Shyamala Sathyanarayana. The men include Ullas Narayana, Binay Sah, Sunil Sharma, Pranaya Mohanty, Kanan Jain and Chanderkant.

As per AFI standards, the athlete is required to have run a minimum of 205 kilometers (men) and 165 kilometers (women) in a 24-hour race in a period of 18 months before the date of the championship.

Races completed during the period April 26, 2018 to July 31, 2019 were considered. Further, as proof of fitness, athletes meeting the qualification standards were expected to have run an ultra-race between January 26, 2019 and July 31, 2019, AFI said.

The improving performance of Indian ultra and trail runners has prompted AFI and NEB Sports to bid for hosting the 2020 IAU 24-hour and 2021 IAU 100 k Asia and Oceania Championships in India, the statement said.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

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