Pune Marathon offers attractive cash awards

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Pune, Nov 13: In a bid to encourage long distance running, the Pune International Marathon Trust (PIMT) has decided to offer an attractive total prize money of Rs three lakh for the Indian winners in both men and women section respectively in the 22nd edition of the Vodafone-Pune International Marathon, which will be flagged off here on December 2.

PIMT secretary general Pralhad Sawant, who is also the joint secretary of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI), said in a release here today that the cash awards in the men's section will percolate down to the sixth place with the first three winners will receive Rs 75,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively, while in the women's category only first three will be awarded Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000. Earlier, the winners of the men (full marathon 42.195 km) and women (half marathon 21 km) were awarded cash awards.

The Pune event, considered to be the oldest in the country, however, assumes importance as it will be considered as the national marathon, according to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), the apex body controlling athletics in the country. The performance of the Indians will be under the scanner who will be selected to take part in various other international marathons in various parts of the globe, the release said.

Going by the previous records, the gutsy Shivdan Singh of Army Sports Institute (ASI) Pune has the best time to his credit of 2:23:54 in 2003, first among the Indians, and was placed third overall. Dattatraya Jayabhai of Bombay Sappers Pune was the winner among the Indians with a time of 2:26:57 and finished sixth overall while Shivdan Singh brought a time of 2:27:38 was second and was placed 8th overall in 2005.

In the very first edition of the event held in 1983 saw Swaroop Singh of Indian Army having placed second overall with a time of 2:27:02, while Yeshwant Singh of the Indian army became the winner with a time of 2:23;56 and was overall second.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president and city (MP) Suresh Kalmadi, who is also the chairman of the PIMT, made a formal announcement on November 2. The event has generated very enthusiastic response as 7,900 entries have been received before the closure of entries on November 14. So far, 50 elite athletes from 14 different foreign countries have confirmed their entries in both men and women sections respectively.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA) will select 20 boys and girls under-17 years of age for the all the year round training-cum-coaching under experts, namely former Olympian Balkrishna Akotkar, Suresh Gujarathi, Bhau Kane and Pandurang Mhaskar and ASI coach U L Saini, the release said.

Noted city sports medicine experts Dr Arun Gangwal and Dr Sadana Dharia will be the physio for the camp.

AFI technical expert Baptist D'Souza will condct a technical meeting of the AFI officials on November 14, to be held at the Marathon Bhavan, Mitra Mandal to discuss various technical aspect so that the 42.195 km race be a smooth affair.

The PIMT has launched its own website ww22nd. Pune international marathon.com MAAA has invited 10 boys and girls from their affiliated district units to take part in the age group race. The best 20 will be selected for the all the year round camp to be held periodically during holidays.

The PIMT will also host the popular 4.5 km 'Aids Charity Run' in which leading personalities from all walks of life including politicians, industrialists, IT, Bollywood stars and sports icons will take part. The donations thus accrued will be donated to the NGOs involved in creating awareness about AIDS. Special prizes will be offered to the participants for the best attire and best slogan.

UNI

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