Kolkata-based ultra-runner, Anjali Saraogi, has won the AFI Ultra and Trail Running award for women, for the second year in a row, this time for 2019-2020.
Anjali’s performance at the 2019 IAU 100 km Asia & Oceania Championships held in Aqaba, Jordan, in November 2019, came up for mention at the awards function held in virtual format by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on September 19, 2020.
In Aqaba, Anjali had completed the 100 km race in nine hours, 22 minutes and three seconds securing fourth place among women and breaking her own national record for that distance category.
Deepak Bandbe from Mumbai won the AFI Ultra and Trail Running award for male runner of the year (2019-20). He had won the bronze medal at the IAU 100 km Asia & Oceania Championships in Aqaba. He covered the distance in 8:04:16 hours, setting a new national record in that category.
Members of the Indian women’s and men’s team, who represented the country at the Aqaba event, were given cash awards for their performance. The men’s team had won the gold medal and the women’s team, silver, at the event. The gold medal winning men’s team members were given cash awards of Rs 10,000 each and the silver medal winning women’s team members received Rs 7500 each.
Nadeem Khan, president of the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and AFI president Adille Sumariwalla participated in the virtual awards function. They pointed out that Indian athletes’ progress in ultra-running has been spectacular.
“ Over the last three to four years, the progress of ultra-running in India has been amazing,” Nadeem said. “ India is a growing market for us, an important market,” he added.
“ I am pleased to note the rapid progress of Indian athletes over the last few years,” Adille said. He emphasized the need to get back to events. AFI’s focus is on protecting athletes given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“ It’s a huge honour. My award belongs to every girl child in my country who will dare to dream and persevere to follow them,” Anjali told this blog after her second consecutive AFI award (for more on Anjali please click on this link: https://shyamgopan.com/2020/08/07/perfection-is-making-the-best-of-what-you-have/).
Sunil Chainani and Peteremil D’Souza, both members of AFI’s committee that oversees ultrarunning, managed the meeting.
(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)