A strong Indian Elite field will complement an exciting international line-up in what promises to be a heady concoction of riveting action at the much-awaited 2022 Tata Steel Kolkata 25K to be held on Sunday, December 18.
The seventh edition of the USD 100,000 prize fund race will take place after a two-year pandemic-forced break, and the anticipation around this premier World Athletics Elite Label Road Race is steadily building into a crescendo.
The experienced Srinu Bugatha will look to defend his Indian Elite men’s title and the Army runner, who is also a multiple-time runner-up here, knows the course and the conditions well.
Senior contender pro Bugatha is in good form, having finished third among Indians in the prestigious Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon in October and won the 2021 New Delhi Marathon in 2:14:59 and the Indian Elite crown at the 2020 Tata Mumbai Marathon in 2:18:44.
Challenging Bugatha every step of the way will be Abhishek Pal and Harshad Mhatre. Pal was the Indian Elite winner at this year’s TCS World 10K Bengaluru in May and also went on to win the 5,000m gold at the National Games and the 10,000m gold at the National inter-state athletics championships.
Mhatre, who like Pal was a part of Procam’s Elite Distance Running Programme, was third among Indians at the TSK 25K and the Delhi Half Marathon in 2019 and a member of the Railways team that took silver at this year’s National Cross Country Championships.
Also in the fray 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 starts favourite
Sanjivani Jadhav starts favourite for the Indian women’s honours and will be looking to sign off a successful year on a high, having won the Indian women’s category of the World’s prestigious Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon and the 10,000m gold at the Federation Cup.
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 AIMS-certified course is carefully crafted to take in some of the city’s majestic sights as the runners will go past Raj Bhavan, Eden Gardens, under the Howrah Railway Bridge over the Hooghly River, Fort William Golf Course and Victoria Memorial before returning to the Red Road finish line.
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 women’s.
On-the-spot registrations for 25K, Ananda Run & Champions with Disability will be available during the first two days of the three-day Mirchi Get Active Expo at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra, Sahid Khudiram Bose Road, BBD Bagh, Subhash Chandra Stadium, on December 15 and 16 to encourage and allow for more runners to be a part of the celebration.
The race will be telecast live by Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 1 HD and Sony Liv on December 18 from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.