Three-time Olympic gold-medallist Kenenisa Bekele will be the star attraction in the fourth Kolkata 25K run in Kolkata on December 17.
The long-distance runner will, for the first time, compete in a 25K race. The Ethiopian great’s best 25K effort is 1:12:47, an intermediate time en route winning the Berlin Marathon 2016.
The existing 25K world record is held by Kenya’s Denis Kimetto (1:11:18 in 2012) and the men’s flock could see Tanzanian Augustine Sulle emerge as the dark horse for the meet.
A multiple world record holder Bekele was the world’s fastest Marathon runner in 2016 only five seconds shy of the world record.
“It’s hard to see who in the men’s field could challenge him but the up and coming Tanzanian, Augustine Sulle might,” race director Hugh Jones said.
Helah Kiprop will lead the women’s pack, with Valentine Kipketer and young Dibabe Kuma giving her tough competition.
Helah is well-known in India, she was the TCS World 10k Champion in 2012 and she won Cochin Half Marathon in 2013.
In 2015 she won the silver medal at the World Marathon Championships in Beijing and in 2016 she won the prestigious Tokyo marathon.
She took third places in last year’s Delhi half marathon and this year’s Bangalore 10k.
“The women’s event has no standout favourite but is packed with seasoned campaigners still at the top of their game,” the race director added.
MEN ELITE ATHLETES:
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), Robert Chemonges (UGA), Augustino Sulle (TAN), Michael Mazibuko (RSA), Tsegay Tuemay (ERI), Stefano La Rosa (ITA), Clement Langat (KEN), Dickson Marwa (TAN).
WOMEN ELITE ATHLETES:
Helah Kiprop (KEN), Valentine Kipketer (KEN), Dibabe Kuma (ETH), Failuna Matanga (TAN), Nazret Weldu (ERI), Bornes Kitur (KEN), Eunice Jeptoo (KEN), Degitu Azimeraw (ETH).