Kolkata, Dec 16 (IANS) Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh was among the elite athletes who rued the poor finishes in the Kolkata 25 kilometres road race, saying the organisers should change the elite section flag-off timing so that it does not clash with the open section.
Sudha added that there were no marshals for the second pack as they were also left in the lurch.
“I am not complaining but it’s a request to get it corrected. You all know how the Delhi Half Marathon or Mumbai Full Marathon are conducted,” Sudha told reporters after the run here.
The Tata Steel Kolkata 25K (TSK 25K) run saw elite 25 km runners struggle to finish and the pace getting affected due to open category participants coming in their way.
Competing in her first event since winning a silver in the 3000 metre steeplechase, two-time Olympian Sudha finished eighth overall, second among Indians, with a timing of 1:29:11.
“In the last stretch, we had all the people walking, jogging along the way and there were even bottle sprayers. It creates a big problem,” Sudha expressed.
“It’s not a new problem here, but persisting since the inaugural edition 2014. I’ve been saying this for last three years and I hope they get it corrected in 2019,” she said adding: “There were also no marshals for the second pack so it was difficult for us to find the route. We even took a wrong route. It’s just a request to get it corrected.”
Sudha added that she was satisfied with the timing as she returned after a rest period following the Asian Games in Indonesia.
“This will help in endurance. I will run next in the Mumbai Marathon next month,” said Sudha, who is eyeing the World Championship and Olympics qualifying marks.
Services runner Avinash Sable, who finished first among the Indians in the men’s section, echoed Sudha, saying even the international runners suffered.
“There was a lot of disturbances from the open category. Cameramen were coming in front and it slowed down the race. If Elite section is flagged off early from next year onwards, the quality of race will improve hugely. Common racers in the last 5 km really affected the timing of the international runners as well,” Sable opined.