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Bangalore all set for India’s first IAU 24H Asia and Oceania Championships
IAU 24H : After a Covid-forced gap of three years, the prestigious IAU 24H Asia and Oceania Championships is all set to take place at the Kanteerava Stadium here on July 2 and 3, marking the first International Ultra Running Championship to be held in India. Significantly, the run will act as a qualifying event for the IAU 24H World Championships in Chinese Taipei next year.
The 2022 edition of the IAU 24H Asia and Oceania Championships, which is in association with the International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU), the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and Ageas Federal Life Insurance, and organised by NEB Sports will see participants from several countries, including Australia, Chinese Taipei, Poland, Lebanon, Mongolia, UK and India.
In the previous edition of the Championships, held in December 2018 in Chinese Taipei, the Indian Men’s team had secured the bronze medal by jointly covering 645.936 kms in the 24 hours. They will hope to not only repeat that performance but also do one better as they run shoulder to shoulder with international Ultra runners on their home turf.
“This is a historic moment for India and I am glad that we will be able to mark it through one of the youngest and most dynamic athletic disciplines: Ultra running,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said during a press conference.
“We are delighted to support the IAU 24H Asia and Oceania Championships. We hope the Indian team takes advantage of the event taking place in the country and will qualify for the IAU 24H World Championships,” Karthik Raman, CMO of Ageas Federal Life Insurance, said.
“For the very first time in thirty-eight years, IAU is coming to India for a major championship. This has been a culmination of several years of hard work. We are very excited to bring this event to India and appreciate the fact that this will further elevate the sport in the country,” Nadeem Khan, the IAU president, said.
India will field a strong team of 12 ultra-runners, led by Amar Singh Devanda, who had secured a personal best distance of 240.8 km in a 24-hour run during the Bengaluru Stadium Run in August 2021. He also logged the fastest time of 7 hr 32 min by an Indian in the 100 km Ultra Marathon. Other India participants include Saurav KR Ranjan (PB: 230.16 km), Geeno Antony (PB: 227.2 km) and Preeti Lala (PB: 193.6 km).
Among the international Ultra runners participating this weekend, the ones to watch out for include Australia’s Stephen Redfern (245.566 km), Matt Griggs (244.087 km), Joe Ward (242.627 km) and Poland’s Tomasz Pawlowski (248.097).
The Ultra Distance Race will begin on Saturday, July 2 at 8:00 am IST at the Kanteerava Stadium’s 400m synthetic track and will continue till 8:00 am on Sunday, July 3. Participants will change the running direction every 4 hours and individual distance lists will be declared on an hourly basis.