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Indian Elite Athletes at the SCMM 2015 Meet and Greet session (L to R), Lalita Babbar, O P Jaisha, Karan Singh, Rati Ram Saini and Rashpal Singh
Indian Elite Athletes at the SCMM 2015 Meet and Greet session (L to R), Lalita Babbar, O P Jaisha, Karan Singh, Rati Ram Saini and Rashpal Singh

Mumbai, January 17, 2015 (Online News India): Lalita Babar and Karan Singh, the women and men’s winners last year sounded very excited on their prospects of defending their crowns at this year’s Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which will be flagged off on Sunday, January 18. The two were also very thrilled about the announcement made by TCS to sponsor the Indian (male and female) Elite runners who finish in the first and second positions.

The 25 year old Lalita, three times winner of the Mumbai Marathon, said that she would like to first focus on the Mumbai Marathon before thinking about the New York race. “First I want to do well in the Mumbai Marathon and only after that I will think about New York. I have trained hard and I am confident of another good performance here on Sunday,” Lalita stated. Lalita pointed out that the weather would also be a major factor.

Karan Singh from the Army Institute of Sports, Pune who won in a time of 2:24.08 last year, said that he too has prepared well and is determined to retain his title. “After the Asian Games last September, I have trained for the last couple of months and hope to do well to win again and with a better timing” said Karan.

When informed that Ram Singh Yadav, winner of the 2012 Mumbai Marathon would also be in the fray this year Karan said that it would be good for the race. “It’s nice that Yadav will also be running here in Mumbai. He will be a strong competitor which is good for the event,” he added.

Meanwhile, AFI President, Adille Sumariwalla mentioned that this event would be a pre-qualification event for the World Championships in Beijing to be held in August this year. “The Mumbai Marathon will be the pre-qualification event for the Indian athletes who will be participating in the World Athletic Championships to be held in Beijing in August," said Sumariwalla. “The qualification timing for men is 2:18 and 2:44 for women,” he added.

Paco Borao, President of AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races), was pleased to come to India for the Mumbai marathon. “Running a marathon is a good sport for everyone and it's easily accessible to anyone. Running is simple, you don’t require much equipment and all that is needed is a good pair of running shoes. The sport is growing and people are happy running,” said Borao, who is here in Mumbai on his first visit.

Rashpal Singh of Sikh Regiment, Jabalpur Centre who finished second last year, said that he will put up a better performance this time. “I am happy to run this Mumbai Marathon and I hope to win this race and break the previous record of 2:16.59 secs set in 2012 by Ram Singh Yadav,” said Rashpal.

Another strong contender for the men’s title is Ratiram Saini from Rajasthan who is keen to make a mark in Mumbai Marathon. “This is my first marathon run and will give it my best shot. I have set goals and my target is to register my name in the record books,” said a modest Saini.

Meanwhile, O.P. Jaisha from Kerala, a veteran Indian athlete is keen to make an attempt on winning the women’s event. “I have participated in the 5,000 meters before but I will be running the Marathon for the first time. I will go flat out and try to finish at the top,” mentioned Jaisha.

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