International stars to make a TSK 25K a big event

The Indian runners in Kolkata will now have the likes of three-time Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia joining the race.

Kenenisa Bekele will participate in the Tata Steel 25K in Kolkata.   -  AFP

The fourth edition of the Tata Steel 25K is promising to be a big affair this time with a strong international elite field adding challenge to the Indian professional runners.

The Indian runners, who have been honing their skills on the new 25km distance running format, will now have the likes of three-time Olympic gold medallist and the holder of World and Olympic records in 5000m and 10000m Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia joining the race. In the women’s field, the top competition will be from noted international runners like Kenyans Helah Kiprop and Valentine Kipketer and Eritrea’s Nazret Weldu.

Numerous categories

The event, in its last few editions, has turned into a platform for the city to come together in the various race categories which include the 25K for elites and amateurs, 10K for the running enthusiasts, the colourful Ananda Run, Champions with Disability, and the Senior citizens run.

Read: Kolkata's 25K run becomes international

In the first three years the TSK 25K has grown as the key long distance running event in the city with participation touching the 10,000-mark last season. This year, with the focus on a strong international elite field, the participation is expected to grow with a raised prize purse of USD 1,00,000 providing fillip to the participants. Mike Powell, who still holds the record in long jump he set in 1991, will be flagging off the run this time on December 17, 2017.

The Tata Steel Kolkata 25K is India’s first 25km race recognised by both Association of International Marathons and Distance Races and the International Association of Athletics Federation.