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Marathon is selection trial for world championship: AFI

MerathonThis Sunday’s Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon would be the pre-qualification event for the World Championships in August in Beijing, said Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla on Friday.

“Mumbai Marathon would be the pre qualification event for the Indian team at the (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing in August,” said Sumariwalla.

The AFI has fixed two hours, 18 minutes for men and two hours, 44 minutes for women as the cut-off qualifying standards for the marathon events at the August 22-30 World Championships in China.

Asked whether the January 18 race here would also be the qualification for next year’s Rio Olympics, the AFI chief said, “It’s too early. There will be another Mumbai Marathon next year (before the August 5-21, 2016 Olympic Games).”

Meanwhile, the AFI has engaged financial consultants EY (earlier named Ernst and Young) to put in place a structured marathon running calendar, said Sumariwalla.

“This is being done for the benefit of our athletes, to bring in some system in long distance running and prevent their burn-out. It will help our long distance runners. Each athlete should run only X number of events,” the former national 100 metre champion explained.

“We have socio-economic problems that compel some of them to run a lot many races than desired. I am no expert to say how many marathon races an athlete can run but some of them run a race every month,” Sumariwalla said, adding AFI would come out with a comprehensive calendar for marathon events.

The world’s top marathoners don’t run more than two races in a calendar year, according to the conference’s moderator Tim Hutchings.

Stating the example of Maharashtra’s Kavita Raut, the AFI president Sumariwalla told PTI: “She has just recovered from a stress fracture of the shin, the effect of running so many road races.”

Kavita won the 10000m silver and 5000m bronze in the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010 after clinching the 10000m bronze in the immediately preceding New Delhi Commonwealth Games.

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