Countdown to the fifth edition of the world’s only IAAF accredited label race for the 25Km distance, The Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, is turning out to be a movement that will engulf the city with the mantra of fitness says Nandini Reddy
The city is getting ready to witness and take part in one of the most star-studded sporting affairs in the sub-continent on December 16.
In only the second year of its international avatar, the IAAF Label event has stamped its supremacy with registrations closing for the feature 25K race, 5K timed race and the Senior Citizens Run on account of reaching the category ceiling. Participation across these three categories has doubled and the race has firmly established itself on the international sporting calendar.
Registrations for the Ananda Run, 10K and Champions with Disability are open with limited spots available on a first-cum-first-serve basis.
Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President Corporate Services, Tata Steel Ltd., said, “It has been a privilege to host this running event in Kolkata. Since its debut is 2014, the Tata Steel Kolkata 25 K run has been growing in stature year-on-year and is today the most popular distance running event in eastern India. We thank all runners, fitness enthusiasts and the people of this beautiful City of Joy for their continued support to TSK25. This year we expect an even larger participation.”
World champions & India’s best: The USD 100,000 prize fund event has attracted some of the best distance runners’ from Ethiopia and Kenya. Defending women’s champion Degitu Azimeraw from Ethiopia returns to defend her title and Kenya’s two-time world champion Florence Kiplagat is determined to make a mark, on her maiden visit to Kolkata. If that was not enough, Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese – two-time former Airtel Delhi Half Marathon champion, will lead the men’s gauntlet.
The field has a very strong contingent of runners from India, as well. In the men’s category Avinash Sable, defending champion and course record holder TSK 25K 2017, with a time of 1:15:17, will lead the way; Kalidas Hirave and the newly crowned Airtel Delhi Half Marathon champion the 21-year old Abhishek Pal complete the troika. In the women’s category India’s only women IAAF Gold Label athlete L. Suriya who is also the defending champion and course record holder TSK 25K 2017, with a time of 1:26:53, will head a team of prodigious runners including Monica Athare and Sudha Singh.
“We are delighted with the way Kolkata has taken to running, to become the first IAAF labelled 25K in the world. It is truly humbling. The event has touched and impacted the city at large on various fronts – philanthropy, change in mindset towards a healthier lifestyle, a chance for our Indian runners to shine on a global platform and an opportunity to witness in action some of the best athletes in the world. This year with the introduction of the inaugural Vijay Diwas Trophy, we pay tribute to the athletes from the defense forces. Hope 16th December will be a day for all to remember”, said Vivek Singh, Jt. MD. Procam International.
Vijay Diwas Trophy Launched: In a show of solidarity with the Services, for the first-time TSK 25K was privileged to have the whole-hearted participation of the Eastern Command. It is our privilege and honour to have GOC-n-C Eastern Command Lt General M.M Naravane AVSM, SM, VSM launch the prestigious Vijay Diwas Trophy. The Trophy is inspired by the momentous Vijay Smarak and will be a Rolling Trophy. This trophy will be showcased at the Command Headquarters inside Fort William and the winning team members will be presented with the replica of the prestigious trophy.
At the launch of the trophy, Lt General M.M Naravane AVSM, SM, VSM, GOC-n-C Eastern Command said, “The Indian Army has been a pillar of strength for the participative sports movement in India. Eastern Command is proud to host the inaugural Vijay Diwas Trophy, in conjunction with Tata Steel Kolkata 25 Km run on 16 December 2018. The Vijay Diwas trophy, is inspired by the historic military victory of Indian Armed Forces which led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, an event which is commemorated by Indian Armed Forces as Vijay Diwas. Teams from the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, will compete over a 25 Km distance, to win the prestigious Vijay Diwas rolling Trophy.
I also wish to thank TATA Steel for agreeing to host the Cup as a special gesture recognising the valour and sacrifice of the Indian Armed Forces.”
This special category will be contested between the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force with five/six teams from each of the 3 services. Each team will have three-members running the 25K and the aggregate of their individual timings will determine the winner. The top three teams stand to win INR 60,000, INR 42,000 and INR 30,000 respectively. GOC-in-C Eastern Command will felicitate the winners on Race day, with medals and certificates.
Philanthropy Pillar: Philanthropy has always been an integral part of Procam running events and the tradition continues at TSK 25K. Since inception in 2014, the event has raised INR 2.68 crores, till date. For the first time, India Cares Foundation has taken on the mantle of the Official Philanthropy Partner. They bring with them a decade of experience in helping Civil Society Organizations – (CSO) raise funds and awareness for their cause.
Currently, 36 CSOs have registered with ICFN for the event, with 11 companies and 5 Care Champions, raising a total of Rs 37 lakh. These CSO’s represent 8 causes – Education, Skills Development, Disability, Women Empowerment, Health, Women & Children, Environmental Conservation and Community Development. 18 corporate houses have registered to run and have donated INR 38.5 lakhs. Individual donations of INR 4.89 lakh have been received till date, through the India Cares platform.
The most significant aspect at TSK 25K 2018 has been running groups opening up their hearts for fund-raising, thus giving more meaning to their run. Four groups have chosen four causes; in addition, a dozen timed race participants have chosen their separate causes. The strength this will provide to the participating CSOs will resonate year-round, across the country!
Charity and contributions will keep coming till 30 December 2018 at https://icfn.in/TSK25K/
Panellists – Philanthropy Pillar
- Thomas John – CEO, Antara Foundation, known as the ‘Oasis for troubled mind’ has been dealing with supporting people with mental health issues from the almost 50 years. In this year where we celebrate Vijay Diwas, it is interesting to know that the genesis of Antara was to support mental stress and turbulence that the citizens of Kolkata and the refugees of the wars faced in the 70s era and has grown to a catering to 45000 patients every year
- Biju Mathew of Motivation India, that works on providing ‘mobility’ for the persons with disability. Giving them customised wheelchairs, working with partners to set up a ‘wheelchair service network’ in lines with the WHO guidelines. Motivation India has provided over 13,000 customised wheelchairs since 2010.
- Prithwish – Vodafone Marketing Head – Eastern India – Founder Kolkata Runners Group
Art for Sport: This initiative has received a tremendous boost as The Oberoi Grand, TSK 25K’s Hospitality Partner, has opened its hallowed corridors to ‘Art for Sport’. The paintings by various artists, who have contributed, are on display at the Oberoi till the New Year. Hotel guests and people of Kolkata, have a rare opportunity to decorate their homes this festive season, while doing their bit in support of a cause.
Police Cup: An event of this stature is not possible without the unstinted support from Kolkata Police. To applaud their sporting spirit, there is a special category within the event, i.e the Police Cup. 20 police teams will be competing in this category. Each team has 3 members, running the 10km and the team with the fastest aggregate time, will be adjudged the winner. The total prize money for this category is INR 71,000.
For more information about the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, the event website is: http://tsk25.procamrunning.in