Unprecedented security protocols will be in place for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) on November 29, organizers said. This is the first international sporting event in New Delhi after the brutal March lockdown to fight Covid-19 and it will take place at a time when the city is experiencing an increase in cases. It is also the first major marathon held in India in a year that has seen a huge pile of races canceled due to the lockdown and the need to maintain physical distance.
Only elite runners will run the original course from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Amateur runners can choose their own locations and their timing and distance will be tracked through the ADHM app. Defending Ethiopia champions Andamlak Belihu (men) and Tsehay Gemechu (women) will be among the 35 international riders.
International athletes will be required to pass an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure and will be retested upon arrival. There will be another test on Friday November 27th. Indian and international elite runners will remain in a biosecurity zone. A medical camp with a two-bed intensive care unit will be deployed. Only authorized persons will be allowed to enter the biosecurity zones inside the JLN stadium. The route will be a 21 km loop through the city. The elite men race starts at 7:10 am and the elite women at 8:40 am.
“These are unprecedented times and unprecedented safety and security protocols will be in place. We will have a strong, competitive and world-class field, ”said Anil Singh, Managing Director of Procam International, the event’s organizer, at the event’s launch here on Saturday.
Belihu and Gemechu, who set a course record (1:06:00) last year, will be looking for their third straight titles. The women’s peloton will be very competitive with Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh, who set a world record in the half marathon (1:04:31) in February, and Kenyan Brigid Kosgei, world record holder in the marathon and winner of the London marathon, being in the fray. . On the men’s side, 2020 TBEN Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Amdework Walelegn and 2014 ADHM champion Guye Adola, ADHM course record holder (59:06 seconds), will compete.
Avinash Sable will be the biggest draw among Indians. Sable qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in steeplechase. Reigning Indian champion Srinu Bugatha, Abhishek Paul and Pradeep Singh will also run. The women’s peloton will have 2018 winner Parul Chaudhary, who set an Indian course record in the Tata Mumbai Marathon (1:15:37) earlier this year, Monika Athare and Chinta Yadav among others.
Adille Sumariwalla, President of the Indian Athletics Federation, called this a good start for the sport in India. “We lost an entire season because of the pandemic restrictions. It is important for elite athletes to participate in competitions. I am happy that this is a starting point, ”he said.