ASI marathoners set eyes on Beijing Olympics qualifying mark

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Pune, Nov 24 (UNI) Marathoners from the Services Sports Control Board (SSBC), who are training at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) for the past six months, have set their eyes on the Beijing Olympics qualifying mark of 2 hours 18 minutes which will enable them to perform better in the 22nd Pune International Marathon on December 2.

ASI coach U L Saini said long-distance athletes from the army have been training for the last six months and the progress has been encouraging. The group has been clocking a time of three minutes and ten to fifteen seconds per kilometer and expected to better the timing.

Mr Saini said the ASI has been taking the assistance of a sports psychologist. Every care is being taken to prepare the marathoners for the Beijing Olympics qualifying timing of 2 hours 18 minutes, he said.

The army has pinned hopes on Deepchand Singh who has graduated to the marathon running after dominating the 5,000 and the 10,000-metre events two years back.

Singh has a string of successes to his credit having won the Kolkata marathon last year with a time of 2 horus 23 minutes, then went on to win the Assam event in 2hours17 minutes. He also took part in the Mumbai international half marathon (21 kms) and the Singapore half marathon.

The other athletes of promise include Shivdhan Singh -- the Indian winner of Pune event clocking 2 horus 23 minutes, last year's Indian winner K C Ramu in the Standard Chartered Bank event in Mumbai, Narender Singh, S Keshav, Vikram Singh, Lasman Singh, Pradeep Kumar, and Dharam Singh, Mr Saini added.

The ASI has created a special centre for training the long-distance runners in preparation for the Beijing Games, Mr Saini said.

UNI

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