New Delhi: Ultra-runner Ullas Narayan bagged first international medal for India at the 2018 International Association of Ultra Running (IAU) 24 Hour Asia and Oceania Championship, Taipei on Sunday. Ullas achieved the third position after completing 250 km closely behind Japan’s Yoshihiko Ishikawa (253 km) and Nobuyuki Takahashi (252 Km).
Indian men comprising Ullas (250 km), Sunil Sharma (202 km) and LL Meena (192 km) also won the third position with their combined distance of 644 km, while the first and second place were secured by Japan with a team distance of 756 km and Australia with 684 km respectively.
Among the Indian women, Hemlata Saini with a distance of 172 km and Meenal Kotak with 161 km achieved 100+ miles in the race. Reflecting on India’s achievement, president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) Adille J Sumariwalla said: “This is indeed a very proud moment for Ultra Running in India. The aim is to leave an impression, and this is precisely what the team has done.
Our endeavour is to encourage ultra runners to achieve higher standards comparable on the global platform.” “The Ultra Running Committee of AFI has been dedicatedly working to take the sport forward with a vision of excellence and free of drugs. The sport of ultrarunning is an athlete sponsored event and we are happy that NEB Sports, IDBI Federal Life Insurance and Adidas had come forward to sponsor the team and crew for this Championship,” Sumariwalla added.
IAU includes World and Continental Championships in the category of 50 km Ultra Marathon, 100 km Ultra Marathon, 24 Hour Race and Trail Championships. Having made its presence felt a year and a half back in June 2017, India sent a team of two comprising Ullas Narayana and Kieren D’Souza for the Trail World Championships held in Italy. Since then, the AFI has been sending the Indian team for the 24 Hour World Championships, the Trail World Championships and the 100 km World Championships.
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