AFI announces Indian team for 2017 Trail World Championships

Experienced ultra-runners Ullas Hoshalli Narayana and Kieren D’Souza will represent India at the 2017 Trail World Championships, to be held at Badia Prataglia, Italy on June 10. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selected the runners.

Ullas Hoshalli Narayana and Kieren D’Souza will represent India at the 2017 Trail World Championships.   -  AFI/Twitter

Experienced ultra-runners Ullas Hoshalli Narayana and Kieren D’Souza will represent India at the 2017 Trail World Championships, to be held at Badia Prataglia, Italy on June 10. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selected the runners.

After a long selection process, invitation of applications from Indian athletes who had participated earlier in ultra-trail events over a period of two years and actively involved in ultra-running races, were selected for the meet. The invitation received a response from 12 athletes including one woman and 11 men athletes.

The criteria laid down by the AFI was that the athletes should have achieved a minimum cotation of 550 for women and a minimum cotation of 600 for men on the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) grading system (http://www.i—tra.org/community/).

This system by the ITRA takes into account an endurance criteria, mountain difficulty level and finishing criteria in order to grade an athlete against the best in the sport.

Only two athletes, Ullas (cotation of 719 cotation) and D’Souza (cotation of 617), among the men met the qualifying standard set by the AFI.

Among the women, the only entry received was of Aakriti Verma (cotation of 512), who did meet the qualification mark set by AFI.

Announcing the team, Adille J Sumariwalla, President AFI, said, “Ultra-running and Trail running have been events that many Indians have taken to in the last few years. Many athletes have been going to International events and a lot of such races are being organised even in India.

“This is the first time we are sending athletes to represent India at the Trail World Championships and we are sending the best athletes who met the qualification standards set by AFI. I wish them all the best.”

Ullas, 37, is one of the fastest ultra trail runners of India. He has podium finishes at races across South East Asia and more recently in Canada.

Over the last two years he has finished extremely well in over 10 trail races covering a total distance of 1000 km. He is the Indian face on the ultra trail running circuit of the world.

D’Souza is one of India’s most competitive ultra runners.

Ultra running being a budding sport, this young lad of 24 years has already started making small marks on the world ultra running map. Totally committed to the sport, he has finished 2nd in his category at the 101 km UTMB CCC in France.

He was the first Indian to have competed and completed the 246 km Spartathlon in Greece and finished 78th out of over 1400 runners at the Vibram Hong Kong 100 km Ultra Trail race.

(With inputs from PTI)