Mumbai: Six Indian distance runners are all set to travel to Kenya for a five-week training at Iten as part of the joint initiative by the Sports Authority of India, Procam International and Global Sports Communication. Their trip is part of the Elite Distance Running Programme launched in Bhopal last year to promote middle and long distance running at the grassroots, a release said yesterday.
The six athletes are brother-sister duo Abishek and Phoolan Pal (Uttar Pradesh), Harshad Mhatre (Maharashtra), Murli Gavit (Gujarat), Priti Lamba (Haryana) and Sangeeta Yadav (Uttar Pradesh). They are being accompanied by SAI coach Surinder Paul and the camp is being conducted in Kenya under Head Coach Hugo Van Den Broek who has been closely associated with these athletes since last December.
The athletes would have access to good facilities and an opportunity to train alongside some of the best talent from across the world, the release said. With 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a target, the aim of EDRP is to encourage and nurture Indian athletes and provide them professional training and international exposure in order to
compete at the highest level, it said.
As part of the joint initiative each year talented athletes will be identified and added to the programme. EDRP would continue to promote the athletes for Tokyo Olympics and help train the athletes through specialised coaching, sports nutrition, physical training, and mental preparation programmes, it added.
"Elite Distance Running Programme is an exciting initiative and a perfect platform for youngsters to harness their skills as long distance runners. One month long training at Iten, will expose our athletes to high-altitude training and will give them a chance to train with international athletes and follow their regime. I would like to wish the six athletes good luck and am sure they will make best of this opportunity," said Injeti Srinivas, SAI's Director General.