Kolkata: Three-time Olympic gold-medallist Kenenisa Bekele will be the star attraction in the fourth Kolkata 25K run in Kolkata on December 17. The long-distance runner will, for the first time, compete in a 25K race. The Ethiopian great’s best 25K effort is 1:12:47, an intermediate time en route winning the Berlin Marathon 2016.
The international field of 16 athletes, eight each for men and women, will be led by Bekele, who has won over 21 Olympic and world titles and broke six senior world records in a career of more than eight years. While the Ethiopian is a powerhouse in running, Robert Chemonges of Uganda and Agustino Sulle of Tanzania are expected to give him a good fight.
Helah Kiprop and Valentine Kipketer from Kenya are the marquee runners in the women’s field. The Indian contingent will be led by course record holder G Lakshmanan in the men’s and L Surya and defending champion Monika Athare in the women’s sections as it is expected to be an interesting battle.
The event will also boast of a raised prize purse of USD 100,000 and the face of the event is city’s cricket icon Sourav Ganguly. Terming this a proud moment for Kolkata, Ganguly said: “We have set benchmarks in many fields and this is our chance to raise the bar when it comes to health and fitness and distance running.”
“We have already shown tremendous enthusiasm for 25K run. I’m sure we will leave international athletes mighty impressed with the force and verve we will display in this edition. I urge the citizens to come ahead in huge numbers and register for the fourth edition of the event and be part of this running movement,” he signed off.