Anil Pawara, 17, clocked 35 minutes and 59secs for the 10km run, while in the U-14 category (4km run), Shakila Vasave (eight minutes) and Anjali Padavi (12 minutes), secured the first and second place respectively
Shakila Vasave (left) finished first in the U-14 4km run while Anil Pawara came ninth in 10km run of the Thane Half Marathon
Though they were competing for the first time with professional athletes, the 10 tribal runners from different villages of Dhule district’s Shirpur Taluka impressed all at the Thane Half Marathon on Sunday. Anil Pawara, 17, clocked 35 minutes and 59secs for the 10km run, while in the U-14 category (4km run), Shakila Vasave (eight minutes) and Anjali Padavi (12 minutes), secured the first and second place respectively.
The men’s 10km run was dominated by army men with Rahul Kumar Rajbhar emerging the winner, clocking 30 minutes and 25 seconds. In women’s 10km category, Bharti Nain took first place with a timing of 36 minutes, while Riya Pawara (48 min, 20 secs) and Sapana Pawara (49 min, 32 secs) secured eighth and ninth place respectively.
Anil, 17, who fought hard against the army athletes initially, felt his inexperience cost him a place on the podium. “For the first five kilometres, I was running with the lead pack, comprising three army runners. But later, I lost momentum and finished ninth. I have been practising for the 3,000metres steeplechase event but now I will work harder as I want to do well in marathons also. I want to join the army and represent the country as a professional athlete,” Anil, who hails from Gurhadpani village which is close to the Madhya Pradesh border, told mid-day on Sunday.
Coach Subhash Pawara, who trained the tribal athletes, was proud of his group. “I’m delighted that all our tribal runners finished inside the first 10 positions. We are fortunate that these tribal athletes receive full support from Krish Sports Foundation [a tribal sports organisation]. Navin Shetty sir [founder of Krish Sports Foundation] and his team have taken a lot of effort to visit the homes of our athletes and convince their parents to allow them to train for this event. Without their coaching and financial support, it would be impossible to achieve these results,” said Pawara.