New Delhi is gearing up to host the highly anticipated 'National' Marathon, slated to take place on February 25 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The event, now in its ninth edition, holds significant importance as it serves as a qualifying meet for the upcoming Paris Olympics, recognized by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).
With the qualifying window closing on June 30, elite athletes from across the nation are expected to vie for top honors and a chance to represent India on the global stage. Last year's winners, Man Singh and Jyoti Shankar Gawate, set the bar high with impressive performances, clinching the men's and women's elite titles, respectively. Singh completed the grueling course in a remarkable time of 02:14:13, while Gawate secured victory with a stellar time of 02:53:04.
The prestigious event promises not only glory but also substantial rewards for the top contenders. The top five finishers among both men and women in the elite category will receive lucrative prize money. The winners of the men's and women's marathon will each pocket a handsome sum of Rs 1.5 lakh, with the runners-up receiving Rs 1 lakh. Additionally, the third, fourth, and fifth-place finishers will be awarded Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000, and Rs 30,000, respectively.
In a circular issued by the AFI, the significance of the event was underscored. "The 9th Edition of New Delhi Marathon 2024 is scheduled to be held on 25th February 2024 at JLN Stadium New Delhi, recognized by Athletics Federation of India as National Marathon," the statement read. "It is pertinent to mention that this Marathon will be a Paris Olympics qualifying event."
The looming Paris Olympics have heightened the stakes for Indian athletes, with no representatives in the marathon event at the Tokyo Games. With the qualifying criteria set at 2 hours 8 minutes and 10 seconds for men, and 2 hours 26 minutes and 50 seconds for women, the competition is expected to be fierce as participants strive to meet the standards before the June 30 deadline.