Kolkata, Dec 12 (IANS) The strong field of top international athletes led by Leonard Barsoton and Birke Debele in the men and womens category are eager to leave their mark in the sixth edition of TSK 25K, the only Silver Label accredited IAAF unique run at this distance, here on Sunday.
Speaking to the media after a photo session at the historic Princep Ghat, Kenyan Leonard Barsoton, a silver medallist in the 10,000 mts African games, said: “My preparation is good. Last year I did not race. I had Achilles’ heel, but I have recovered well. Planning to do cross country in the future. But now I’m focused on running marathon. I am optimistic of running a full marathon in the future. The longest distance I have done is 30k. So I fancy my chances here.”
Kenyan American Stanley Kebenei said: “It is nice to visit Kolkata. I always wanted to visit India. 25k is a new territory, but I don’t restrict myself. I believe with good preparation I can pull it off. I will try my best to give a good competition.”
Ethiopian long distance runner Tariku Bekele, whose brother Kenenisa won the first edition of the international edition here, said: “My brother (Kenenisa Bekele) is my hero. Changing career to marathon, things seem different, but I am still trying my best. Kenenisa trains me, we are there for each other. I want to run very fast and training hard for that.”
Ethiopian Birke Debele, who is leading the women’s list, said: “I am eager to run here in Kolkata. I have already run three marathons this year but not at all tired and will try to give my best on Sunday. I would like to improve my performance in half marathon and in the future would want to run more in that category. I like long distance training while preparing.”
Failuna Matanga, from Tanzania, said: “I have been training well and ready to run. I am focused on doing well in this marathon. I have done a lot of preparation for Kolkata. I want to impress with my performance on Sunday and break my current best timing.”