AT A GLANCE / NOVEMBER 2022

Abhilash Tomy (this photo, taken early November near Cape Town, South Africa, was downloaded from the Facebook page of GGR and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

2022 GGR / Unusual conditions in the Southern Indian Ocean; Abhilash fixes a windvane problem on the Bayanat

By the end of November, updates from the website of the 2022 Golden Globe Race (GGR) included mention of unusual weather conditions in the southern latitudes popularly known as the Roaring Forties.

The portion of our planet between latitudes 40 and 50 degrees south feature strong westerly winds. In the Age of Sail spanning the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries when merchant ships executed the passage from Europe to the spice markets of South East Asia, they courted these winds. The Westerlies were also critical for crossings of the vast Pacific Ocean. The website of the US-based National Ocean Service explains the Roaring Forties so: “ The Roaring Forties take shape as warm air near the equator rises and moves toward the poles. Warm air moving poleward (on both sides of the equator) is the result of nature trying to reduce the temperature difference between the equator and at the poles created by uneven heating from the sun. This process sets up global circulation cells which are mainly responsible for global-scale wind patterns. The air descends back to Earth’s surface at about 30 degrees’ latitude north and south of the equator. This is known as the high-pressure subtropical ridge, also known as the horse latitudes. Here, as the temperature gradient decreases, air is deflected toward the poles by the Earth’s rotation, causing strong westerly and prevailing winds at approximately 40 degrees. These winds are the Roaring Forties.’’ 

The above phenomenon of air warming near the Equator, rising up and then descending at 30 degrees latitude is experienced in both the southern and northern hemispheres. However, the presence of major landmasses in the north prevents the wind from building up strongly. The southern hemisphere has comparatively less landmass in the said latitudes save portions of Australia, New Zealand and South America. As the latitudes converge in the southern hemisphere towards Antarctica and the South Pole, the Roaring Forties are followed by the Furious Fifties and the Screaming Sixties; the adjectives at play conveying the nature of conditions felt. Over the past several years, there have been reports of the Roaring Forties shifting further south owing to global warming.

In its update of November 28, GGR said that while of late, the race leaders have improved their daily mileage with Kirsten Neuschafer of South Africa (currently in second place) even touching 219 miles in a day, such fast passages took a while to happen. Conditions in the Atlantic were not what the participants expected to get and the same appears the case as regards the Southern Indian Ocean. “ This year, an unusual Atlantic polar vortex is contributing to a weather anomaly which is pushing the usual strong westerly winds of the Roaring Forties further south than usual. Some high-pressure systems are also lower than normal, pushing the roaring forties toward the furious fifties,’’ the GGR update said. This may slow progress toward Hobart as the fleet experiences more of a mixed bag of wind directions and strengths. “ The good news is that some of the intense low-pressure storms may also stay below their route to Hobart and later Cape Horn. Only time will tell, but sailing along the 40th parallel of latitude looks like a different ride this year,’’ the update added.

As of the evening of November 30, India’s Abhilash Tomy was placed third in the race; in first place was Simon Curwen of the UK. The leading three boats were all in the Southern Indian Ocean, way down south from the Indian peninsula, their line of sailing pointing straight towards Tasmania and Hobart. In his weekly satellite conversation with the race organizers on November 29, Abhilash said that he had faced a problem with the Bayanat‘s windvane. The servo pendulum shaft holding the rudder sheared off. He managed to repair it. He also admitted to a case of painful ribs following a slip and a fall onboard but said it was manageable. “ At least, its not getting worse, that is a good thing,” he said. the next major objective, Abhilash said, is to get past Amsterdam Island. “ I just want to cross that point. That is a big hurdle mentally for me,” he said. Back in 2018, following mishap and injury at sea, Abhilash had been rescued by a French fisheries patrol boat and brought to Amsterdam Island. The island, which is almost equidistant from Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica, is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

Abhilash Tomy (This photo taken by Aida Valceanu was downloaded from the Facebook page of GGR and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

2022 GGR / Abhilash Tomy in fourth place as race enters Indian Ocean

Abhilash Tomy, the lone Indian participant in the 2022 Golden Globe Race (GGR), was placed fourth as the fleet of competing boats entered the sea off Cape Town, South Africa. On November 13, the race’s live tracker showed Abhilash’s Rustler 36 sailboat located straight below the southern tip of Africa, in fourth position overall. From here, competitors move into the southern Indian Ocean. British sailor Simon Curwen continues to be in the lead; he crossed the Cape Town photo gate on November 6. A report dated November 9 on the GGR website, said of Abhilash, “ His latest tweet suggests he is battling with the mind games of watching the leaders sail away and the others catching up.’’ When reported on this blog in October, Abhilash was in third position. The November 9 GGR report placed him fifth. A subsequent video of him and his sailboat, Bayanat, from near Cape Town (posted by GGR), mentioned that their progress had been delayed through getting stuck in a region of calm. The live tracker of November 13 showed that Abhilash had improved his standing to fourth. The race spanning several months is still in its early phase. While for some of the participants, the first stint of sailing through the Atlantic Ocean is now behind them, they have the southern Indian Ocean, the vast Pacific and a second sailing through the Atlantic ahead.

In the earlier-mentioned video from the Cape Town photo gate, available on GGR’s Facebook page, Abhilash has expressed unhappiness at how the race has unfolded. His main complaint appeared to be inadequate information regarding the weather and the location of other participants. According to him, participants had a different experience in 2018 (in which edition of the race, he did well till an unfortunate accident terminated his voyage in the southern Indian Ocean) and the 2022 edition, the way it was playing out, appeared more a “ rally’’ than a race. “ The key element is that there is no racing, it is just luck. If you are lucky, you get ahead,’’ he could be heard saying. Asked if the boat was in good shape, Abhilash replied, “ no problem.’’ He said that he intended to continue with the circumnavigation but may go silent. GGR entails a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the planet in a sailboat. The current edition of the race commenced on September 4. Technology levels permitted for participant sailors and their boats, have been largely pegged to what prevailed in 1968-69, when the first GGR was held. The first GGR was won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who completed the solo non-stop circumnavigation in 313 days. Abhilash is the first Indian to do a solo, nonstop circumnavigation in a sailboat. He achieved that distinction in a voyage that started from Mumbai on November 1, 2012 and ended on March 31, 2013.

The top three finishers in the short trail race for men, at the first World Mountain & Trail Running Championships held in Chiang Mai (This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the event and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended).

World Mountain & Trail Running Championships / Indian runners finish 64th and 77th

Indian runners placed 64th and 77th at the first World Mountain & Trail Running Championships held over 3-6 November, 2022, at Chiang Mai in Thailand. As per results available on the race website, in the short trail race, Sampathkumar Subramanian finished in 64th position covering the course in 4:23:40.  Kieren D’Souza placed 77th with timing of 4:43:24. With six runners not starting the race and one courting DNF (did not finish), 84 runners completed the race in the men’s category. The short trail race was won by Stian Hovind Angermund of Norway (3:08:29), followed by Francesco Puppi of Italy (3:11:47) and Jonathan Albon of Great Britain (3:13:05). Besides the short trail race, there was the long trail race, uphill mountain race and up and downhill mountain race plus a junior category in the last-mentioned discipline. This was the inaugural edition of the championships which combine mountain and trail events into a single weekend of off-road races. It was originally scheduled for November 2021 but got postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was organized by World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and International Trail Running Association (ITRA), along with World Athletics and Tourism Authority of Thailand. According to a January 2022 report in trailrunner.com, the new biennial event replaces the World Mountain Running Championship, World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship and Trail World Championship.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

AT A GLANCE / OCTOBER 2022

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Two Indian runners chosen for Thailand World Mountain & Trail Running Championships

Kieren D’Souza and Sampath Kumar Subramanian have been chosen to represent India at the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships (WMTRC) to be held at Chiang Mai, Thailand from November 3 to 6, 2022.

They will be representing the country in the category of short trail run of 40 kilometres, a list issued by WMTRC said.

The runners were required to have participated in a trail or mountain running event of 40 km length and elevation gain of 2,777 meters. They should also have an ITRA performance index of 650 in marathon or 50 km distance race, a circular from Athletic Federation of India (AFI) said.

The selection process was carried out by the Ultrarunning Committee of AFI.

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Controversy after Iranian sport climber competes without a hijab

Iranian sport climber, Elnaz Rekabi, returned home to a hero’s welcome, news reports of October 19 said.

According to BBC, her family met her at the airport, where she was hugged and given flowers. Social media videos showed a large crowd at the airport, the Guardian said.

It was on October 18 that Rekabi, reported in the media to be potentially in danger for competing at the Asian Championships in Seoul without wearing a hijab, posted an apology on her Instagram account for “ getting everybody worried.’’ She informed that she was flying home.

 “ Due to bad timing, and the unanticipated call for me to climb the wall, my head covering inadvertently came off,’’ BBC reported, quoting Rekabi’s Instagram post. The post further said that the 33-year-old was on her way back to Iran along with her team and as per earlier decided schedule.

The BBC report on the sport climber quoted the broadcaster’s Persian service correspondent saying that the language used in the Instagram post appeared to many as though it had been written under duress. In the past, Iranian women who competed abroad without wearing a headscarf had faced pressure from authorities to issue a similar apology, the correspondent noted. On October 17, citing a source, the BBC had said that Rekabi’s passport and mobile phone had been confiscated and she had left her hotel in Seoul two days before her scheduled departure.

The whole climbing incident happened against the backdrop of widespread protests in Iran over the demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16, after she was arrested three days earlier by the country’s morality police for wearing her hijab improperly. The absence of the headscarf on Rekabi was praised by those protesting against Iran’s dress code. According to the Guardian, supporters of the protests on social media described Rekabi as a “ hero’’ and posted images of her climbing up the letters of the protest slogan: “ woman, life, freedom.’’

In a tweet on October 18, Iran’s embassy in Seoul said, “ Ms. Elnaz Rekabi, departed from Seoul to Iran, early morning of October 18, 2022, along with the other members of the Team. The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South Korea strongly denies all the fake, false news and disinformation regarding Ms. Elnaz Rekabi.’’

South Korea’s foreign affairs ministry confirmed to CNN that all members of the Iranian team, including Rekabi, had left South Korea after attending the sport event.

The Asian Championships was held under the aegis of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), the apex body for the sport. On October 18, an IFSC official statement (available on its website) said, “ The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) is fully aware of the news regarding Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi. There is a lot of information in the public sphere regarding Ms Rekabi and as an organisation we have been trying to establish the facts. We have also been in contact with Ms Rekabi and the Iranian Climbing Federation. Our understanding is that she is returning to Iran, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops on her arrival. It is important to stress that athletes’ safety is paramount for us and we support any efforts to keep a valued member of our community safe in this situation. The IFSC fully support the rights of athletes, their choices, and expression of free speech.’’

In 2016 and 2017 two editions of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup were held in Navi Mumbai, India. Elnaz Rekabi was a participant in the 2017 edition. Despite injury, she made it to the semi-final and put up a good fight. As per details available on the IFSC website, after the whole competition (spanning qualification round to final), she had placed 19th among women in a field of 34, at Navi Mumbai. That year in Navi Mumbai, the winner among women was Shauna Coxsey of Great Britain.

Abhilash Tomy (This photo was downloaded from Abhilash’s Facebook page and is being used here for representation purpose)

Abhilash Tomy moves up to third position in 2022 GGR

More than 40 days since commencement of voyage and with still many thousands of kilometres left to cover and months to go before the targeted solo nonstop circumnavigation is achieved, Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy has improved his position to third overall in the in the 2022 Golden Globe Race (GGR).

The number of currently active participants has whittled down to 13; when the race kicked off, there were 16. Damien Guillou (France) returned for repairs while Edward Walentynowicz (Canada), Guy deBoer (USA) and Mark Sinclair (Australia) are out of the race.

As of October 16, the leading edge of the fleet of sail boats was in the western Atlantic essaying an extended arc to the east, towards the waters off the coast of southern Africa. This manoeuvre has been attributed to weather conditions. “ The first five entrants will converge towards Trindade over the weekend, but they cannot turn left to Cape Town, blocked by strong easterly winds. To try would take them into headwinds for a slow and painful 2600-mile crossing to Cape Town. On paper, the best route to Cape Town for centuries has been to go South of the South Atlantic high and shoot downwind towards the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean.

“ That’s on paper though…  The centre of the current High lay today around 10°W 40°S, a whole 1200 miles south of Trindade Island and will be pushed East leaving a trail of light winds behind. Meanwhile a low-pressure system will push North mid next week. In short, it’s a mess with unstable winds and difficult predictions for the sailors.

“ To get to the bottom of the high and ensure downwind conditions, sailors would have to push South to the roaring 40’s, another 1200-nautical mile, or an extra 10 ten days. Weather information will be vital. Weather fax maps (should they get one off the coast of Brazil), barometric pressure and wind direction can help to make their critical decision on when to turn left. Even then, they have no guarantee of finding the conditions they are looking for,’’ an update from October 13, said on the event website. It may be recalled in this context that part of the challenge at GGR is that the level of electronics on the boats (including communications technology) is pegged to what was allowed for participants in the first GGR of 1968-1969.

The update said of Abhilash that he “ has consistently posted the best performance all week, including several best 24-hour distances, and taking the absolute 7-day distance fleet record, gaining 210 miles over Simon!’’ Simon Curwen of UK is the race leader at present. At the time of the above-mentioned update, only three boats from the 13 were still in the northern hemisphere. The rest had crossed the equator.

Abhilash, a former naval officer, is the first Indian to do a solo nonstop circumnavigation. He achieved the distinction in 2013. He was a participant in the 2018 GGR but had to retire from the race after he suffered serious injury in a severe storm in the southern Indian Ocean that also damaged his boat.

The winners of the international elite men’s race at the 2022 Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon (This photo was downloaded from the Twitter handle of the event and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

2022 Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon / Ethiopia’s Chala Regasa, Kenya’s Irene Cheptai win

Ethiopian runner Chala Regasa and Kenya’s Irene Cheptai emerged winners at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon 2022 held on October 16, 2022.

Regasa finished the half marathon for men in one hour and 30 seconds, as per provisional results.

In the international elite men’s race, Felix Kipkoech of Kenya finished in 1:00:33 to take the second place and Boki Diriba of Ethiopia finished in 1:00:34 to take the third place.

In the international elite women’s race, Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia finished in second position with timing of 1:08:02 and Stella Chesang of Uganda finished in third position with timing of 1:08:11.

Among Indian athletes, Avinash Sable and Sanjivani Jadhav were winners in their respective gender categories. Sable finished in 1:03:58 and Jadhav in 1:17:53.

This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the Chicago Marathon and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

2022 Chicago Marathon / Chepngetich, Kipruto emerge winners

Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya narrowly fell short of breaking the women’s world record as she successfully defended her title at the 2022 Chicago Marathon, held October 9.

The 28-year-old who established a significant lead over the rest of the field, crossed the finish line in two hours, 14 minutes and 18 seconds.

The women’s world record of 2:14:04 was set by Brigid Kosgei of Kenya at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Chepngetich’s time this year was the second fastest in history for women.

Taking second place among women at the 2022 edition of the Chicago Marathon was Emily Sisson of the US; she covered the distance in 2:18:29. Third place went to Vivian Kiplagat of Kenya (2:20:52). The time registered by Sisson was a new American record; it improved on the previous record of Keira D’Amato (set at the 2022 Houston Marathon) by 43 seconds.

In the men’s race, first place was secured by Benson Kipruto of Kenya. He crossed the finish line in 2:04:24 followed by Seifu Tura of Ethiopia (2:04:49) and John Korir of Kenya (2:05:01).  In 2021, Kipruto had won the year’s Boston Marathon in 2:09:51. Kipruto’s brother Dickson Chumba had won the Chicago Marathon in 2015.

The 2022 Chicago Marathon also saw 77-year-old Geena Little of Great Britain become the oldest runner to complete all the World Marathon Majors. News reports said she finished the race in Chicago in 4:37:15. In the preceding two weeks she had run the marathon majors in London and Berlin. According to the reports, the race in Chicago was Little’s 602nd marathon.   

2022 London Marathon: the lead pack from the men’s race (Photo: courtesy Sunil Chainani)

Yehualaw, Kipruto take top honours at 2022 London Marathon

Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Kenya’s Amos Kipruto emerged winners at the 2022 TCS London Marathon held on October 2.

The Ethiopian athlete won the women’s race with a timing of two hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds, despite suffering a fall.

In its report on the event, CNN said, “ With six miles left, Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s race seemed to have been ruined after the Ethiopian was left sprawled on the road after stumbling over a speed bump. The incident caused her to lose time over her rivals and later she admitted the faceplant “hurt.” But it didn’t stop the 23-year-old from making history on Sunday as she eventually crossed the line first to become the youngest winner of the London Marathon.’’ According to the report, hers was the third fastest time ever in the women’s race.

Yehualaw had run her first competitive marathon only in April. That month, running in windy conditions, she had completed the Hamburg Marathon in 2:17:23, breaking the Ethiopian record and installing her sixth on the world all-time list.

This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the event and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Wikipedia’s page on the athlete said that earlier in August 2021, Yehualaw had completed the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Northern Ireland in 63:44, a new world record and the first instance of a woman covering the distance in under 64 minutes. But it wasn’t ratified because the course was 54 metres short. Thereafter in October, 2021, she clocked a legal 63:51 at the Valencia Half Marathon, placing her second just behind compatriot Letesenbet Gidey, who established a new world record.

In London, Kipruto won the men’s race in 2:04:39. Second place in the marathon went to Leul Gebresilase from Ethiopia. He finished the race in 2:05:12, followed seven seconds later by Bashir Abdi of Belgium, who picked up the third spot. In the women’s race finishing behind Yehualaw was Joyciline Jepkosgei from Kenya with a timing of 2:18:07. In third position was Alemu Megertu. The Ethiopian athlete finished in 2:18:32.

Interestingly, until the 35 kilometre-mark, the lead pack in the men’s race included Ethiopian long distance great Kenenisa Bekele. In its report, Runner’s World noted that Bekele had been the first to fade as the pack slowly broke up towards the concluding stage. But the 40-year-old authored a new record. Bekele finished fifth with timing of 2:05:53, an improvement on the previous masters record of 2:06:25 held by Ayad Lamdassem of Spain.

Over 40,000 runners participated in the 2022 edition of London Marathon.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

AT A GLANCE / SEPTEMBER 2022

Abhilash Tomy; from the 2022 GGR (This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the event and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

2022 GGR: Abhilash Tomy, now in fifth place, had a tough patch initially

Retired naval officer Abhilash Tomy, sole Indian participant in the 2022 Golden Globe Race (GGR), had a trying first few days, the event’s website reported on September 18.

He had to combat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ostensibly stemming from his return to the race following the accident that halted his 2018 GGR attempt.

“ Abhilash Tomy holds 4th place and revealed during the film drop that after leaving Les Sables d’Olonne he suffered for 10 days with severe PTSD syndrome. He could not eat for those 10 days. Re-living his rescue and severe back injury inflicted during the 2018 edition of the GGR upset his ability to concentrate. This reaction surprised even himself. Now he is back into the 2022 edition with real focus and determination,’’ the update of September 18, posted on the website said. Simon Curwen (UK), Tapio Lehtinen (Finland), Pat Lawless (Ireland) and Abhilash were the first through the Marina Rubicon film gate.

According to the website of Mayo Clinic, PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. During the 2018 GGR, Abhilash was caught in a severe storm in the southern Indian Ocean that left his boat, ` Thuriya,’ badly damaged. An injured Abhilash (he suffered spinal injury) was later rescued via a multinational effort, including a ship dispatched by the Indian Navy.

The 2022 GGR got underway on September 4. As of September 26 morning, the bulk of the participants were positioned off the north western coast of Africa, in the Atlantic. Abhilash, sailing a Rustler 36 sailboat christened `Bayanat,’ was in fifth position.   

Abhilash is the first Indian to circumnavigate the planet in a sailboat, solo and nonstop. He achieved that distinction in 2013, as part of the Indian Navy’s Sagar Parikrama project. Prior to Abhilash’s voyage, Dilip Donde (now a retired naval officer) had become the first Indian to do a solo circumnavigation. Sagar Parikrama was the brainchild of the late Vice Admiral Manohar Awati (Retd). For related articles please click on ` Sagar Parikrama’ under ` Category’ on this blog (it shows up on the panel to the right below the list of recent articles).

Aleksandr Sorokin (this image was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Aleksandr Sorokin sets new 24-hour world record at IAU European Championships

Lithuanian ultrarunner Aleksandr Sorokin set a new world record in the 24-hour-run at the IAU 24 Hour European Championships 2022 held over September 17-18 at Verona, Italy.

He ran a distance of 319.614 kilometres (198.599 miles) during the stipulated 24-hour period, smashing his own previous record of 309.399 km set in August 2021.

His average pace for the 24-hour period was 4:30 per km.

In the women’s race, Patrycja Bereznowska from Poland was the winner with a distance of 256.250 km. Stephanie Gicquele from France finished second with a distance of 253.581 km and Malgorzata Pazda-Pozorska from Poland placed third with a distance of 581.806 km.

In the men’s race, Andrzej Piotrowski from Poland finished in second place with a mileage of 301.858 km and Marco Visiniti from Italy placed third place with a distance of 288.437 km.

In team positions, Poland swept both the women’s and men’s titles. Among women’s teams, France was second and Germany third. In the men’s category, Lithuania placed second and Spain, third.

Vasai-Virar Marathon returns

The tenth edition of Vasai-Virar Municipal Marathon, a popular running event, is slated to be held on December 11, 2022.

The marathon, last held in 2019, was forced to miss two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The upcoming edition will see a substantial increase in prize money while registration fees remain unchanged, a press release quoting Anil Kumar Pawar, Commissioner, Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation said.

The run is recognised as a national level sports event by the Athletic Federation of India and the running course has been measured and ratified by Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).

Abhilash Tomy (This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of Abhilash Tomy and is being used for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.)

2022 Golden Globe Race commences in France

The 2022 edition of the Golden Globe Race got underway on September 4.

According to reports posted on the event website, 16 skippers commenced their solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the planet that day from Les Sables-d’Olonne in western France.

Among them was retired naval officer, Abhilash Tomy, the first Indian to sail solo, nonstop around the planet in 2013. He had been a participant in the 2018 edition of GGR. That attempt had concluded with his boat getting badly damaged in a severe storm in the southern Indian Ocean. An injured Abhilash was subsequently rescued.

At that time, he was sailing in the ` Thuriya,’ a replica of the ` Suhaili,’ which Sir Robin Knox Johnston had used to complete the first solo nonstop circumnavigation in 1968. The ` Suhaili’ was built in Mumbai; the ` Thuriya,’ in Goa. Following his rescue, Abhilash endured surgery and a challenging road to recovery.

For his second attempt at GGR in 2022, Abhilash is sailing a UAE-registered sailboat named ` Bayanat.’ It is racing under the number 71, the year in which the United Arab Emirates was formed. The announcement in this regard was made earlier this year, at the Dubai Expo. The boat bears the name of Abhilash’s sponsor – Bayanat, a G42 company specializing in AI-powered geospatial intelligence. Abhilash purchased the Rustler 36 (a model of yacht) in France and renamed it.  The boat was previously raced in the last Golden Globe by Philippe Péché with PRB sponsorship (he retired from the race on August 25, 2018 due to a broken wind vane and put in to Cape Town).

Prior to the start of the 2022 race on September 4, Abhilash required some repairs carried out fast. In a post titled “ The Jigsaw Puzzle” on his Facebook page, he wrote. “ We sailed into Les Sables d’Olonne on 16 Aug and were straight away lifted out of water. The boat needed a nose job after a collision at sea a day ago, and her mast too needed repairs. Given that we were just a little over two weeks from the start, it seemed like an uphill task, with quite a few wondering if we would make it across the line on 4 Sep. With all of Europe on a holiday, a solution looked virtually impossible. But we had to give it a good try.’’

Eventually the needed work was accomplished. “ Looking back, it all looks like a jigsaw puzzle. We found all the pieces and they all fit in well. It’s nothing short of a miracle. The Bayanat is now ready to sail around the world,’’ Abhilash wrote in the post, dated September 4.

As in the 2018 edition of the race, in 2022 as well, GGR participants have to sail using yachts similar to those used in the original 1968-69 race. Same goes for equipment too. They have to sail without the benefit of modern technology like satellite-based navigation systems.  As of September 9, Abhilash was placed tenth overall. On the race’s live tracker, the participants appeared bunched together off the north west coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Ahead lay a long journey of several months.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

AT A GLANCE / AUGUST 2022

Flashback / pack of elite runners from the 2019 edition of Tata Mumbai Marathon (Photo: by arrangement)

Tata Mumbai Marathon is back

The 2023 edition of Tata Mumbai Marathon will be held on January 15, as per the event’s website.

According to it (this is as of August 8, 2022), registration for the full marathon has opened. Registration for the half marathon starts from August 20; that of other categories is set to commence from August 26. The dates mentioned herein are as per information available on the event website.

The race is returning after a gap of two years – 2021 and 2022 – when it wasn’t held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event is India’s biggest marathon.

Eldhose Paul. This photo was taken from the Instagram page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Double glory for India in men’s triple jump as Eldhose Paul, Abdulla Aboobacker take gold, silver

India’s Eldhose Paul won the gold medal in the men’s triple jump at the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK.

One of only two athletes to pass the 17m-mark in the contest, Paul had a best jump of 17.03m.

The other jump in excess of 17m belonged to Paul’s compatriot Abdulla Aboobacker Narangolintevid, whose best jump touched 17.02m, earning him the silver. India thus bagged both gold and silver medals in the triple jump. Paul’s best jump came in his third attempt; Aboobacker’s in his fifth. 

Bronze went to Jha-Nhai Perinchief of Bermuda (16.92m).

Praveen Chitravel, the third Indian athlete in the fray, finished fourth (16.89).

Earlier, in late July, Paul, having become the first Indian to qualify for the final of the men’s triple jump competition at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, had finished ninth. In Eugene, USA, he had produced a best jump of 16.79m, a distance significantly improved in Birmingham.

Arshad Nadeem. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of World Athletics and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

A well deserved gold for Pakistan’s Nadeem in men’s javelin throw

Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem won the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK with his best throw measuring 90.18m, a new Games record.

Anderson Peters of Grenada (88.64m) took the silver and Kenya’s Julius Yego (85.70m), the bronze.

Nadeem’s first throw measured 86.38m. A while later, his third throw rewrote that mark to a new personal best of 88m. Eventually, his best throw from the competition was a massive one measuring 90.18m. He was seen periodically clutching the taped elbow of his throwing arm; it seemed to be in pain. At the recently concluded 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA, Nadeem had placed fifth with a best throw of 86.16m. Anderson Peters, who successfully defended his title as world champion in Eugene, appeared a shadow of that self in Birmingham. He hovered in the low 80s for long before producing that throw of 88.64m. It briefly put him in the lead ahead of Nadeem before the latter unleashed his competition-winning 90m plus-throw. The Grenadian athlete was unable to improve further and had to settle for silver. In Eugene, his best throw had touched 90.54m. His PB is 93.07m.

Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago (82.61m) placed fourth. The two Indian athletes in the field D.P. Manu (82.28m) and Rohit Yadav (82.22m) finished fifth and sixth respectively. As per their profiles available on the website of World Athletics, Manu has a PB of 84.35m; Rohit’s PB is 82.54m.

Priyanka Goswami. This photo was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page.

Priyanka Goswami gets silver in women’s 10,000m race-walk

Priyanka Goswami of India secured the silver medal in the women’s 10,000m race-walk at the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK. Her timing – 43 minutes and 38.83 seconds – was a new personal best (PB).

The gold medal went to Jemima Montag of Australia who set a new games record of 42:34.30. Kenya’s Emily Wamusyi Ngii (43:50.86, an area record and a PB) took the bronze.

India’s Bhawna Jat (47:14.13), who finished eighth, also got a PB.

The race held under quite supportive weather conditions, saw an initial break-away group of around five athletes headed by Goswami, in the lead. Within this formation, Montag stuck to the third position behind Goswami and Ngii for a long time. However, close to the halfway mark she struck out on her own, set a fast pace and never looked back.

Sandeep Kumar gets bronze in men’s 10,000m race-walk

India’s Sandeep Kumar picked up the bronze medal in the men’s 10,000m race-walk at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

He covered the distance in a new personal best of 38 minutes, 49.21 seconds.

The gold medal went to Evan Dunfee of Canada – 38:36.37, a new Games record. Australia’s Declan Tingay took the silver in a new personal best of 38:42.33.

Annu Rani gets bronze in women’s javelin throw

Annu Rani of India picked up the bronze medal in the women’s javelin throw competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

She had a best throw of 60m.

The gold medal was secured by Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia (64.43m).

Mackenzie Little of Australia took the silver (84.27).

Exciting finishes in women’s 800m and men’s 5000m in Birmingham

The concluding stages of the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK, saw a couple of exciting finishes in the middle and long distance-races. In the women’s 800m, Kenya’s Mary Moraa pulled off a brilliant victory to take gold in one minute, 57.07 seconds. England’s Keely Hodgkinson (1:57.40) and Scotland’s Laura Muir (1:57.87) secured the silver and bronze medals respectively. Moraa, who led in the first lap of the 400m-track, slipped back in the second till she was almost at the tail end of the small line of runners. Uniquely, she made no effort to fight back as the others overtook her. She resurfaced at the back of the pack but now in an outer track. Then, the claw-back commenced. She worked her way back up, closed the gap and eventually overtook Hodgkinson to collect a well-deserved gold. It was a superb piece of running. In retrospect, that fall to the rear of the pack shifted Moraa from the relatively crammed inside track to an outer one leaving her, at the final bend, with an unhindered passage to accelerate and go for gold. But was it what she wanted? Mary Moraa knows.

Hours later, the men’s 5000m race kicked off with all eyes on Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo and two fast runners from Kenya – Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Jacob Krop. Initially, the race felt sluggish; it appeared the sort of situation that typically builds up to a sprint finish favoring those capable of speed. While Kimeli and Krop are known to specialize in distances ranging from 3000m to 10,000m, Kiplimo does that and is also the world record holder in the half marathon (57 minutes and 31 seconds). The wider range of distances in Kiplimo’s portfolio, which emphasizes endurance over speed, had naturally triggered speculation during the 5000m race in Birmingham on how well he may perform should things boil down to a sprint finish. However, as the concluding stages of the race approached, Kiplimo went past Kimeli, opened up a sizable gap and held on to it to take the gold in a season’s best of 13:08.08. Kimeli (13:08.19) and Krop (13:08.48) secured the silver and bronze, respectively. With gold in the men’s 10,000m bagged earlier, it was a classic double for Kiplimo.  

Murali Sreeshankar. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Murali Sreeshankar gets silver in long jump; Tejaswin Shankar bags bronze in high jump

India’s Murali Sreeshankar won the silver medal in the men’s long jump competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK.

In the final, his best jump measured 8.08m. The gold medal went to Laquan Nairn of Bahamas (also 8.08m). Nairn’s best jump was identical to Sreeshankar’s but he had the advantage of a better second-best jump – 7.98m. Sreeshankar’s second-best in the final was 7.84m. Jovan vaan Vuren of South Africa (8.06m) secured the bronze.

India’s Muhammed Anees Yahiya placed fifth with a best jump of 7.97m to his credit. Sreeshankar is the first Indian to get a silver in the men’s long jump at CWG. Back in 1978, at the CWG held in Edmonton, Canada, Suresh Babu had won the bronze with a jump of 7.94m.

The start list for the 2022 CWG final featured 12 athletes of who, 11 possessed PBs in excess of 8m. The best PB was Sreeshankar’s – 8.36m. Although his fifth jump brought him on par with Nairn as regards distance reached, overall, the final was a mixed bag for Sreeshankar with his other jumps in sub-8m domain and one (a good jump), deemed a foul by the narrowest of margins.  

Tejaswin Shankar. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Earlier at the event, India’s Tejaswin Shankar won the bronze medal in the men’s high jump. His best jump measured 2.22m. Hamish Kerr of New Zealand (2.25m) and Brandon Starc of Australia (also 2.25m) secured gold and silver respectively. A July 30, 2022-article in the Indian Express, soon after the 2022 CWG commenced in Birmingham, aptly summed up Shankar’s predicament. Although he met the qualification-mark, Shankar was initially denied a place on the national squad headed to Birmingham. He was included following a Court directive. Then he was told that his entry had been turned down by the event organizers. Later, with days left for the CWG, he was informed that he was accepted. Consequently, he arrived in Birmingham, his days preceding the competition lost to running around to get the paperwork for his journey done. The bronze was despite that. Tejaswin Shankar has a PB of 2.29m, which is also the national record.

This picture of Ferdinand Omanyala was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

“ I am happy I am changing the notion that Kenyans can’t sprint’’

For long identified with distance runners, Kenya added excellence in the sprints to its portfolio with Ferdinand Omanyala taking the gold medal in the men’s 100m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK.

He clocked 10.02 seconds.

Defending champion Akani Simbine of South Africa (10.13) bagged the silver while Yupun Abeykoon of Sri Lanka (10.14) took the bronze.

A former rugby player, Omanyala has a personal best of 9.77 seconds. In a post-race interview available on the YouTube channel of Athletics Weekly, he said, “ I am happy I am changing the notion that Kenyans can’t sprint.’’ In its report on Abeykoon’s bronze medal-winning performance, Colombo-based newspaper Daily Mirror said, “ Abeykoon is the first Sri Lankan in 24 years to win a Commonwealth Games Medal in track and field events, after Sriyani Kulawansa won Silver in the Women’s 100m Hurdles and Sugath Thilakaratne won Bronze in the Men’s 400m at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Games.’’

Omanyala’s triumph, a moment to remember Seraphino Antao

Ferdinand Omanyala is the first Kenyan to secure a gold medal in sprint at a major international event since Seraphino Antao’s two gold medals in the 100 yard and 220 yard-races at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. Converted to metres, 100 yards amounts to 91.44 metres. According to Wikipedia’s page on Athletics at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Antao timed 9.50 seconds for the 100 yards and 21.28 seconds for the 220 yards (201.168 metres).

Antao, who retired after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and later shifted to the UK, passed away in 2011. His parents hailed from Goa. An article on Antao, dated September 6, 2008 and available on the website of The East African, said, “ His father came over from Goa sometime in the early 1920s and settled in Mombasa. He met Antao’s mother, whose family had also come from Goa, they married and had five children. Seraphino Antao was born in 1937, and grew up playing football. He got into athletics almost by accident. In 1956, while working for the East African Railways, specifically the Landing & Shipping Company, he entered the company athletics competition and won the sprint events. Within six months he was competing in national events and was the Kenya and East African champion in several short races. He was part of the team that represented Kenya in the Cardiff Commonwealth Games in 1958 and the Rome Olympics in 1960. He then went on to be a world-class sprinter before retiring in 1964.’’ For more on Seraphino Antao and the above mentioned article, please click on this link:  https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/magazine/pioneer-in-kenya-s-athletics-seraphino-antao-a-champion-1291980).

The website goanvoice.org.uk has a detailed page on Antao with many articles compiled. In an interview to the East African Standard, dated February 1, 2003, wherein he cites the 1962 CWG races as the most memorable of his life, Antao adds that he clocked 20.9 seconds in the 220 yard-semi-final. The website also shows you a November 2004 report in Herald by Fredrick Noronha based on a conversation he had with Antao when the latter paid a visit to Goa (Antao’s roots are in Chandor). It said: “ The Antaos (from Chandor) were quite sports minded. Germano Antao was a big name in sports, and my cousin Effie Antao played football for Kenya. Pascoal Antao played for Salgaocars years back, and his son Trevor is also a good footballer,’’ he said in an interview. His sister, Iggy (Ignaciana) Antao, was also a good sprinter, while his brother Rosario was a long-jumper. Expat Goans may have represented the world in various sporting events, but Antao is probably the only one to do so well in athletics. For more on Antao from the website, please click on this link: http://www.goanvoice.org.uk/supplement/SeraphinoAntaobak.htm.

A quick Google-search in the wake of Omanyala’s victory in Birmingham showed that while the media mentioned Seraphino Antao in their reporting (which is how this writer too learnt of him), film footage of his running was little. In this context, the only video I came across on YouTube had been posted by Fred Menezes. It was from the 100 yards competition at the 1962 CWG and is shared below:

Seraphino Antao running at the 1962 CWG. This video was posted on YouTube by Fred Menezes and is being shared here for representation purpose.

Strasser is first to finish 2022 TCR

Christoph Strasser, Austrian ultra-cyclist, became the first participant to cross the finish line at the 2022 edition of the Transcontinental Race (TCR) in Europe. He covered 4578 kilometres in nine days, 14 hours and zero minutes, a report on cyclist.co.uk said. The race started in Geraardsbergen, Belgium and ended in Burgas, Bulgaria. The website said that at the time of reporting, Strasser’s successful completion awaited verification of his route by the race organizers.

According to Wikipedia, TCR is an annual self-supported ultra-distance cycling race across Europe with the route and distance for each edition generally varying between 3200-4200 km. The winners usually take 7-10 days. It is not a stage race and operates like a long individual time trial. Apart from sections of the route, some control points and the finish, the participants are mostly free to choose their own route, Wikipedia’s page on the event said.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

AT A GLANCE / JULY 2022

This image is being used here for representation purpose only – as a general depiction of mountain landscape – and is not indicative of the places mentioned in the article alongside. Photo: Shyam G Menon

More peaks opened up for trekking and climbing in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand government has added 30 more peaks and 10 high altitude treks (trekking peaks) to the list of objectives available for trekking and mountaineering in the state.

According to news reports, only 12 teams with 10 members each can attempt any of the peaks in the new list, twice a year. Further, to ensure that non-biodegradable waste does not litter these high-altitude areas, the teams will have to make a security deposit, which is returnable on the condition that they bring back all such waste. In its report, Times of India, quoting a senior government official said that the mountaineering and trekking activities will be done in league with local eco-development committees.

The addition of these peaks to the existing list of mountains available for climbing and high-altitude trekking is expected to give a push to adventure tourism in the state, the media reports said.

The 10 new trekking peaks are Bhagnyu, Lamchir, Lamchir South, Nar Parbat, Narayan Parbat, Nanda Lapak, Ratangarian, Yan Buk, Mahalay Parbat and Pawagarh.

A senior mountaineer pointed out that the 30 new peaks offered for mountaineering also include three – Devistan I, Devistan II and Rishi Kot – whose routes are described as “ inside Nanda Devi sanctuary’’ in the list. The routes are via the Nanda Devi National Park and the relevant check point is Lata. The Nanda Devi sanctuary was declared off-limits to locals and climbers in 1983. The Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

2022 CWG / Gold for Jessica Stenson in women’s marathon

Jessica Stenson of Australia won gold in the women’s marathon at the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK. She covered the distance in two hours, 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Silver went to Margaret Wangari Muriuki of Kenya (2:28:00). Defending champion, Helalia Johannes of Namibia (2:28:39) had to settle for bronze. There were 16 runners in the fray.

This image was downloaded from the Facebook page of the 2022 CWG and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Neeraj Chopra to miss 2022 Commonwealth Games

Neeraj Chopra, Olympic champion in javelin throw and silver medallist this month (July) at the 2022 World Athletics Championship, has withdrawn from the upcoming Commonwealth Games (CWG) due to injury.

“ Chopra, the defending CWG champion, had injured his groin during the World Championship final in Eugene, USA, on Saturday. He underwent a MRI scan the following day and was subsequently advised one-month rest by the doctors, according to Rajeev Mehta, the secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association,” the Indian Express reported.

Neearj, 24, was to be India’s flagbearer at the event in Birmingham, UK. The report said a decision on the new flagbearer would be taken soon.

With Neeraj unavailable, India will be represented in the javelin throw competition at CWG by D. P. Manu and Rohit Yadav. They will be up against a strong field that includes world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada.

Venue of the 2022 World Athletics Championship. This image was downloaded from the Facebook page of World Athletics and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Eldhose Paul becomes first Indian to reach the triple jump final at World Athletics Championship

Eldhose Paul became the first athlete from India to qualify for the triple jump final at the world athletics championship. At the 2022 edition of the event in Eugene, Oregon, USA, the 25-year-old jumped 16.68m to qualify for the final.

Those who cleared 17.05m or featured in the 12 best jumps in the qualifying round spread over two groups, were eligible for the final. In the qualification round, Paul placed twelfth overall. As reported in the media, Paul works for the Indian Navy and hails from Ernakulam in Kerala. According to data available on the website of World Athletics, his personal best is 16.99m, achieved in April 2022.

Morocco’s El Bakkali treats himself to steeplechase world title; Sable finishes eleventh

Reigning Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco lapped up the title of world champion, winning the 3000m steeplechase final in a time of eight minutes, 25.13 seconds, at the 2022 World Athletics Championship. Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia (8:26.01) took silver and Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya (8:27.92), the bronze.

The race, keenly awaited in India owing to the presence of Avinash Sable in the field, saw the Indian athlete finishing eleventh with a time of 8:31.75. Sable’s time was well short of the 8:12.48, he set at an international meet in Rabat, Morocco, in June 2022. It must however be remembered that such measurements in athletics are influenced by conditions on the field, including how a race unfolds in accordance with the pacing and strategies of the race leaders. For instance, El Bakkali’s time in his gold medal winning performance at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, was 8:08.90. The world record in the men’s steeplechase is 7:53.63, set by Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shahin (formerly Stephen Cherono of Kenya) in 2004.

Sreeshankar finishes seventh in long jump final

Parul Chaudhary sets new personal best

India’s Murali Sreeshankar, who had earlier become the first Indian athlete to qualify for the final in the men’s long jump event at a world championships, finished seventh in the final at the 2022 World Athletics Championship being held over July 15-24 at Eugene, Oregon, in the US.

The 23-year-old had qualified with a jump of eight metres. However in the final, his best jump best measured 7.96 metres. The final was won by China’s Jianan Wang who managed 8.36 metres.

In the women’s 3000m steeplechase heats, India’s Parul Chaudhary failed to qualify for the final although she earned a new personal best of 9:38.09.

Avinash Sable. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Sable in steeplechase final, Sreeshankar in long jump final

India’s Avinash Sable has made it to the final of the men’s 3000m steeplechase event at the 2022 World Athletics Championship, being held over July 15-24, at Eugene, Oregon in the US.

In the heats, Sable finished third with timing of 8:18.75. Hailemariam Amare of Ethiopia (8:18.34) and Evan Jager of the US (8:18.44) placed ahead of him. Sable holds the Indian national record in 3000m steeplechase – 8:12.48. Notably, the 27-year-old has broken the national record several times, commencing (as per Wikipedia) with the 8:29.80 he set at the 2018 National Open Championships in Bhubaneshwar. The last time he broke the national record was at an international athletics meet in Rabat, Morocco.

Sable also holds the national record in the half marathon – 1:00:30, set at the Delhi Half Marathon in November 2020.

Among other Indian athletes competing at the world championships in Eugene, Murali Sreeshankar made it to the final of the long jump. The 23-year-old jumped eight metres to make the cut. He is the first Indian to qualify for the final in the men’s long jump at the world championships.

Jim Thorpe sole gold medallist of 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon

Nearly 110 years after he was stripped of his medals for violating the strict rules governing amateur sport at the time, American athlete Jim Thorpe was reinstated as the sole gold medallist of the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon events.

“ Thorpe, a Native American, returned to a ticker-tape parade in New York, but months later it was discovered he had been paid to play minor league baseball over two summers, an infringement of the Olympic amateurism rules. He was stripped of his gold medals in what was described as the first major international sports scandal. Thorpe to some remains the greatest all-around athlete ever. He was voted as the Associated Press’ Athlete of the Half Century in a poll in 1950,’’ AP said in its report on the reinstatement.

According to it, in 1982, 29 years after Thorpe’s death, the IOC gave duplicate gold medals to his family but his Olympic records were not reinstated, nor was his status as the sole gold medalist of the two events. Two years ago, a Bright Path Strong petition advocated declaring Thorpe the outright winner of the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. The International Olympic Committee had listed him as a co-champion in the official record book.

“ This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned,’’ IOC president, Thomas Bach, was quoted as saying in a statement (dated July 15, 2022) related to Thorpe’s reinstatement.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

AT A GLANCE / MAY 2022

Kenyan runners dominate at 2022 TCS World 10K; course records broken

This photo was downloaded from the event website and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Kenyan runners Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Irene Cheptai broke course records for the men’s and women’s race respectively at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2022, held on May 15, 2022, the event website said.

Nicholas Kipkorir finished the race in 27:38 minutes, improving by six seconds the previous course record set by Kenyan athlete Geoffrey Kamworor way back in 2014.

In the women’s race, Irene Cheptai also from Kenya, finished the run in 30:35 minutes, breaking the earlier course record of 31:19 set by late Agnes Tirop in 2018.

This photo was downloaded from the event website and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Tadese Worku of Ethiopia crossed the finish line after Kipkorir in 27:42 and Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie finished third with a timing of 27:55. In the women’s race, Kenyan athlete Hellen Obiri, finished second with a timing of 30:44. In third position was Joyce Tele, also from Kenya, with timing of 31:46.

Among Indian runners, Abhishek Pal topped the podium, finishing the race in 30:04 minutes. Kartik Kumar finishing a second later claimed the second position. A second later, Gulveer Singh finished in third position.

Among Indian women, Parul Chaudhary won the race in 34:37 minutes. Sanjivani Jadhav finished after her in 34:45 and in third position was Komal Jagadale who finished the race in 35:27.

Indian team for IAU 24-Hour Asia & Oceania Championships 2022 announced

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has announced the team to represent India at the IAU 24-Hour Asia & Oceania Championships 2022 to be held on July 2nd and 3rdat Bengaluru.

Women ultra-runners chosen to participate in the championships include Anju Saini, Aparna Choudhary, Asha Singh, Ashwini Ganapathi, Preeti Lala and Shashi Mehta. Among men, Amar Shiv Dev, Amar Singh Devanda, Badal Teotia, Binay Kumar Sah, Geeno Antony and Saurav Kumar Ranjan form the team. The Ultra and Trail Running Committee of AFI has selected the athletes for the championships.

Athletes chosen were required to a 24-hour race during the period July 1, 2021 to May 5, 2022. The qualifying distance for women runners was 175 km and for male runners, 215 km.

The event will be held at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

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

AT A GLANCE / APRIL 2022

Aleksandr Sorokin (This photo was downloaded from the Twitter page of Centurion Running and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin sets new world record in 100 km

Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania set a new world record in 100 kilometres at the Centurion Running Track 100 Mile in Bedford, United Kingdom on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

He ran the distance in a record time of six hours, five minutes and 41 minutes, setting aside the previous 100 km world record of 6:09:14 held by Japan’s Nao Kazami, set in June 2018.

Sorokin already holds world records for 100 miles (11:14:56), 12-hour run (170.309 km) and 24-hour (309.4 km)

Kenyan sweep at 2022 Boston Marathon; Olympic champion Jepchirchir wins women’s race

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won the women’s race at the 2022 Boston Marathon, held on April 18, 2022.

It was a Kenyan sweep at the iconic marathon, which returned to its original schedule after two years impacted by the pandemic.

Peres finished the race in two hours 21 minutes and one second. Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia came in second with a timing of 2:21:05 and in third position was Kenya’s Mary Ngugi in 2:21:32.

Kenyans dominated the men’s race with Evans Chebet winning in a time of 2:06:51. Lawrence Cherono finished second in 2:07:21 and Benson Kipruto third in 2:07:27.

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

AT A GLANCE / MARCH 2022

Bindu Juneja

27 Indian ultra-runners participate in IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Run

Twenty-seven Indian ultra-runners participated in the 6-Hour IAU Virtual Solidarity Run 2022 held on March 20.

Originally 28 Indian runners were scheduled to participate in the 6-hour run. Manoj Bhat had to drop out due to injury.

Among women Bindu Juneja reported the most distance logged within the stipulated duration – 63.3 kilometres. Sandeep Kumar covered a distance of 81.2 km, the highest in the men’s category. Geeno Antony had the second highest mileage – 68.37 km.

Sandeep Kumar

Running in Surat, Sandeep found the familiarity of the place psychologically easy prompting him to push for high mileage. In 2020, during the same run, Sandeep had covered 79.5 km during the 6-hour period.

“ It was quiet in the early morning but after 8 AM heat and Sunday traffic started to rise,’’ he said. With barely one hour left for the time to finish, he found himself beset with injury. “ But I decided to continue,” he said.

For nutrition and hydration, he had gels, electrolytes, coconut water, lemonade, banana, oats biscuits and peanut butter.

Sunil Chainani, Amar Singh Devanda, Bindu Juneja, Gorkha Ram, Velu P, Rakesh Saran and Om Prakash (Dany) Saran

Running in Bengaluru, Bindu Juneja had the company of five male runners from among those enlisted to run. “ We were to run in the outer loop of Kanteerava Stadium. Initially, the stadium staff were reluctant to allow us to run for six hours. We thought we would run for the first few hours there and then move out. But eventually, we ended up running in the stadium throughout,” she said.

“ I had a plan and followed it till the end. The weather was relatively good,” Bindu said.

For company, she had ultra-runners P. Velu, Amar Singh Devanda (the national record holder in 100 km and 24-hour), Gorkha Ram, Rakesh Saran and Dany Saran.

Asha Singh
Geeno Antony

Sunil Chainani, Bengaluru-based runner and formerly a member of the Athletics Federation of India’s ultra-running committee, also kept the runners company for the first three hours.

Asha Singh, running in a park in Lucknow, managed to cover a distance of 61.86 km during the stipulated time. Last week, she had participated in the 100 km race at Tuffman Stadium Run in Chandigarh. But the race was cancelled mid-way because of technical glitches in timing. There, she had covered a distance of 75 km before the race was called off.

During the 6-hour period, temperatures in Lucknow touched 36 degrees Celsius. Asha’s husband Bajrang Singh provided support to her during the run.

The Indian runners were given T-shirts by NEB Sports.

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Indian ultra-runners to participate in IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Run 2022

Twenty-eight ultra-runners from India – nine women and 19 male runners – will be participating in the six-hour IAU/AFI Virtual Global Solidarity Run 2022 to be held on March 19 and 20, 2022.

Alongside the IAU Virtual Solidarity Run 2022, the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) Virtual Global Solidarity Run will also be held. In the AFI run, 13 runners – 10 men and three women – will be participating.

“ The IAU 6 Hour Global Solidarity Run has been an overwhelming success and popular amongst the ultrarunners. An event that was initiated to bring the IAU family together during the pandemic has become a source of hope and a beacon of optimism for the global ultrarunning community,’’ IAU statement said quoting IAU General Secretary Hilary Walker.

Women ultra-runners participating in the IAU event include Asha Singh, Deepti Chaudhary, Anju Saini, Preeti Lala, Ashwini G and Shashi Mehta.

Among men, Binay Kumar Sah, Sandeep Kumar, Sunil Sharma, Velu Perumal, Geeno Antony, Gorkha Ram, Om Prakash Saran, Amar Singh Devanda and Vipul Kumar will be representing the country.

AFI runners include Badal Teotia, Munish Dev, Parveen Kumar Sangwan, Rakesh Kumar Saran, Manoj Bhat, Satpal Rayka, Deepak Chhillar, Amar Shiv Dev and Santosh Gowda among men and Bindu Juneja, Aparna Chaudhary and Shikha Pahwa among women.

As per the instructions issued by AFI, the runners are mandated to commence their 6-hour virtual run at 5:30 AM and end at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2022. They are to run with a GPS tracker device and are expected to give a screenshot of the tracker every hour.

The virtual event will be overseen by Dr Rajat Chauhan and Santosh Padmanabhan.

Eliud Kipchoge (This photo was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Kipchoge, Kosgei emerge winners at Tokyo Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the men’s race at the Tokyo Marathon in a new course record of 2:02:40.

The time he took to cover the distance is as yet the fourth fastest in the history of the sport. Kipchoge’s performance was despite a wrong turn essayed by the lead pack just after the 10 kilometre-mark, an incident that would have affected the runners’ time and rhythm. The Tokyo Marathon was held on Sunday, March 6, 2022.

“ Kipchoge has now won 14 marathons overall, including nine World Marathon Major events and two Olympic marathons. With wins in Tokyo, London, Berlin, and Chicago, he joins Wilson Kipsang as the only men to have won four different WMM events since the series began in 2006. Only Boston and New York remain for Kipchoge to complete an unprecedented sweep,” the website letsrun.com said in its report on the Tokyo Marathon.

Second place in the men’s race went to Kenya’s Amos Kipruto (2:03:13). Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia (2:04:14) placed third. Although held in March 2022, the event was actually the delayed 2021 edition because that year’s race was postponed to be held in October 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then again postponed to March 2022.

In the women’s race, top honours went to world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya. She completed the race in 2:16:02, the third fastest time recorded yet for women. Ashete Bikere of Ethiopia (2:17:58) finished second while fellow Ethiopian, Goytom Gebrselase (2:18:18) placed third.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

AT A GLANCE / JANUARY 2022

Aleksandr Sorokin (This image was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page. No copyright infringement intended)

Aleksandr Sorokin breaks 100 mile, 12-hour world records

First runner to cover 100 miles in less than 11 hours

Lithuanian ultra-runner Aleksandr Sorokin set new world records in the 100 mile and 12-hour run at the Spartanion 12-hour event in Israel on January 6.

He is the first runner to break the 11-hour barrier in 100 miles.

Running on a 1.46-kilometre loop, he covered 100 miles in 10 hours, 51 minutes and 39 seconds. He went on to complete the 12-hour run covering a distance of 110.24 miles (176.384 km). Both of these are new world records. According to a January 6 report on the website irunfar.com, the new records were yet to be officially confirmed.

Known popularly as Sania, he broke his own records set in April 2021 at the ultra-running event in Ashford, Kent.

“ Sorokin held an incredible average pace of about 6:32 minutes per mile (about 4:04 minutes per kilometer) for 12 hours. This effort breaks his own previous world records of 11:14:56 for 100 miles and 105.825 miles (170.309 kilometers) for 12 hours, improving those respective records by about 22 minutes and about 4.4 miles (about 7 kilometers),” irunfar.com said in its report.

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

AT A GLANCE / DECEMBER 2021

Camille Herron (this image was downloaded from the athlete’s Twitter handle and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.)

Ultrarunners Nick Coury, Camille Herron set new American records

Nick Coury set a new American record in 24-hour ultrarunning at the 2021 Desert Solstice Track Invitational held on December 11 and 12, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.

He covered a distance of 173.01 miles (276.82 kilometers), beating the previous record of 172.45 miles (275.92 km) held by Mike Morton.

The world record belongs to Lithuanian runner Sania Sorokin, who ran 303.4 km during a 24-hour race in Poland in September 2021.

At the same event, American runner Camille Herron reset her 100 mile-record (13:25:00), covering the distance in 13:21:51.

Aman Mehla, Tamali Basu win Goa River Marathon 2021

Aman Mehla and Tamali Basu won the men’s and women’s races at the 2021 edition of Goa River Marathon, held on December 12, 2021.

Aman finished the marathon in two hours, 53 minutes and 33 seconds. In the women’s race, Tamali covered the distance in 3:54:32.

In the half marathon category, the winner in the men’s race was Rahul Shukla (1:13:22). Pramila Patil (1:42:49) won the women’s race.

Balu Pukale, Manisha Joshi win Satara Hill Half Marathon 2021

Balu Pukale won the Satara Hill Half Marathon of 2021 with timing of 1:14:13. The race, normally held in September, was held on December 12, 2021.

In the woman’s race, Manisha Joshi was the winner of the half marathon event; she timed 1:46:35.

In the men’s category, Anil Korvi finished second with timing of 1:19:08 while Dharmender Kumar (1:21:09) placed third.

In the women’s race, Madhurani Banasode finished second with timing of 1:47:20 and Vaishali Garag (1:50:27) third.

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