Srinu Bugatha, Sudha Singh aim to attain Olympic qualifying mark in New Delhi Marathon

At the eve of the event, the two athletes disclosed the tough training regimens that they have been going through with their sights firmly fixed on the Tokyo Olympics berth later this year.

Sudha Singh said that she was eyeing national marathon record and looking to make it to the national team as well- Emmanual Yogini (The Hindu)

India's top long-distance runners Srinu Bugatha and Sudha Singh will be aiming to attain the Tokyo Olympics qualifying mark during the sixth edition of the New Delhi Marathon on Sunday.

At the eve of the event, the two elite athletes disclosed the tough training regimens that they have been going through with their sights firmly fixed on berths for the flight to Tokyo later this year.

Srinu, who hails from a farming family in Andhra Pradesh and trains at the Army Institute of Sports in Pune, declared that he was aiming to clock the required under-2:11.30s timing to turn his dream into a reality.

"Due to the pandemic I have missed out on a couple of opportunities but I have also recorded my personal best of 2:18.36s this year which gives me the confidence to attain the qualifying norm," he said.

Sudha, a former Asian Games gold medallist in 3,000 steeplechase, also said that she would be targeting the national marathon record of 2:30.00s set by OP Jaisha to break into the Indian squad.

"I believe that I have trained hard over the past year and I will put in my best effort to try and qualify for the Olympics tomorrow," she said.

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Sudha, who was recently conferred the prestigious Padma Shri, was felicitated by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju before the event.

As many as 15,000 others will also be running in the virtual marathon from different parts of the world over five days, starting from March 7.

The runners will be participating across the four categories -- full marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k.

The organisers said in a statement that all COVID-19 protocols have been put in place to ensure the safety of the runners.

Besides the duo, a number of the country's top runners, including Rashpal Singh (defending champion), Bahadur Singh Dhoni, Hetram and Nitendra Rawat among men and Jyoti Singh Gawte (last year's winner), Jigmet Dolma, and Tsetan Dolkar among women, will be seen in action.

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