A formidable bunch of Indian runners will complement an exciting international line-up at eastern India’s premier road race on December 18.
Army runner and defending champion Srinu Bugatha will lead the charge in Indian elite men’s category in the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, partnered by The Telegraph.
The organisers on Monday announced the names of the Indian ace runners who will take part in the 25K category.
The seventh edition of the race is back after two Covid-scarred years. The anticipation around the World Athletics Elite Label Road Race is steadily building up, said organisers.
Bugatha, also a multiple-time runner-up in TSK, knows the course and the conditions well.
Challenging Bugatha will be Abhishek Pal and Harshad Mhatre. This year has been great for Pal. He was the Indian elite winner at this year’s TCS World 10K Bengaluru in May. He also went on to win the 5,000m gold at the National Games in Gujarat and the 10,000m gold at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Chennai.
Mhatre came third among Indians at the last edition of TSK 25K and the Delhi Half Marathon, both in 2019. He was a member of the Railways team that took silver at this year’s National Cross Country Championships.
In the fray in the Indian elite men’s category are Durga Bahadur Budha, Man Singh and Murli Gavit. Budha finished on the Indian elite podium in the 2020 Delhi Half Marathon. Singh was fourth in the 2016 edition of the TSK 25K. Gavit broke the national record in the 10K road race in January at a meet in Valencia, Spain.
Sanjivani Jadhav will be the top contender for the Indian women’s honours, having won the Indian women’s category of the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon and the 10,000m gold at the Federation Cup earlier this year.
She is expected to face a stiff challenge from Kavita Yadav, who finished third in 10,000m at this year’s Federation Cup as well as the National Inter-State Athletics meet, and Arpita Saini, who was fourth among Indian women in the 2019 TSK 25K.
The international list features some of the biggest names in the sport, headlined by the reigning Commonwealth Games marathon champion Victor Kiplangat of Uganda in the men’s section and the 2022 Tokyo Marathon runner-up Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia in the women’s category.