The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) recently became the 83rd member of the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). Observing the enthusiasm and rapidly growing number of ultra-races in India and participation of Indian ‘endurance athletes’ both at National and International races, AFI had approached the IAU for membership.
Welcoming the move, Kieren D’Souza, one of the youngest and most competitive ultra-athlete in India, said, “This is a wonderful initiative by the AFI and the IAU. This is a big boost for the running community in India and Ultra-runners in particular. I am sure this association will see Ultra-running in India taken to greater heights and help establish the Indian presence on the Global Ultra and Trail running map.”
Adille Sumariwalla, President of AFI and member of IAAF council, said after India’s confirmation as member of IAU, “A meeting was held on the sidelines of the 208th IAAF Council Meeting in Monaco in the first week of February 2017 where I put forward AFI’s proposal to the IAU officials. AFI was very keen to get IAU membership as we want to organise Ultra-Marathon and Mountain Trail Runs in an organised manner. We want to promote Indian endurance runners at International level,” he added, “I am glad that IAU accepted our application and AFI is now officially the governing body of Ultra-Marathon and Mountain Trail Runs in India.”
The membership will now enable AFI to send endurance athletes from India to participate at the World Championships held by the IAU. The major events held under the IAU banner are: 24- Hour (Area and World Championships), 100 km (Area and World Championships), Trail World Championships and 50 km World Championships.
After becoming the new member of IAU, the AFI select a team of Ultra runners next week to represent India at the 2017 Trail World Championships to be held in Badia Pratagia, Italy, on 10 June 2017.