The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selected experienced Ultra-runners Ullas Hoshalli Narayana and Kieren D’Souza to represent India at the 2017 Trail World Championships to be held at Badia Prataglia in Italy on 10 June 2017.
The selection process involved, invitation of applications from Indian athletes who had participated earlier in ultra-trail events over a period of two years and actively involved in ultra-running races. The invitation received a response from 12 athletes including one woman and 11 men athletes.
The criteria laid down by the AFI was that the athletes should have achieved a minimum cotation of 550 for women and a minimum cotation of 600 for men on the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) grading system (http://www.i-tra.org/community/). This system by the ITRA takes into account an endurance criteria, mountain difficulty level and finishing criteria in order to grade an athlete against the best in the sport.
Only two athletes, Ullas (cotation of 719 cotation) and Kieren (cotation of 617), among the men met the qualifying standard set by the AFI. Among the women, the only entry received was of Aakriti Verma (cotation of 512), who did meet the qualification mark set by AFI.
Announcing the team, Adille J Sumariwalla, President AFI, said, “Ultra-running and Trail running have been events that many Indians have taken to in the last few years. Many athletes have been going to International events and a lot of such races are being organised even in India. This is the first time we are sending athletes to represent India at the Trail World Championships and we are sending the best athletes who met the qualification standards set by AFI. I wish them all the best.”
Ullas Hosahalli Narayana (IN PIC) is one of the fastest ultra trail runners of India. The 37-year-old currently lives with his family in Vancouver, Canada. He works as an animator for Industrial Light and Magic. Brought up in Bangalore, running has been a big part of his life. Ullas developed a passion for ultra trail distances about 4 years ago while he was living in Singapore.
He has podium finishes at races across South East Asia and more recently in Canada. Over the last two years he has finished extremely well in over ten trail races covering a total distance of 1000 km. He is the Indian face on the ultra trail running circuit of the world.
This is what Ullas has to say about representing India in ultra Trail events around the globe, “I am very excited to represent the Indian Tricolor and contribute to the development of the sport in India. In the process, I also endeavor to spread awareness about preserving the fast disappearing natural areas in India”.
Kieren D’Souza (IN PIC) is one of India’s most competitive ultra runners, who has taken to ultra running like fish to water. Ultra running being a budding sport, this young lad of 24 years has already started making small marks on the world ultra running map. Totally committed to the sport, he has finished 2nd in his category at the 101 km UTMB CCC in France. He was the first Indian to have competed and completed the 246 km Spartathlon in Greece and finished 78th out of over 1400 runners at the Vibram Hong Kong 100 km Ultra Trail race. Over the period of 06 years he has taken part in nine ultra races covering a distance of about 1100 km.
“To be part of the Indian Ultra Running Team is one of my dreams coming true. I knew this is a budding sport in India, and would be difficult to get recognition, but running against all odds and pushing beyond endurance is what ultra running is all about. The ray of hope turned a full beam when Mr Sumariwalla, President AFI, ensured that the AFI joined the IAU. This has opened the doors for the ultra-runners in India to compete at an International level at the IUA organised events. I do see many more Indian ultra-runners, both women and men donning the Indian colours at these events in the near future and doing the country proud.”
|Sl No.||Name||Category||ITRA Cotation||Qualifying Standard|
|1||AVINASH BHARDWAJ||Men||587||>600 MEN|
|2||KIEREN DSOUZA||Men||617||>600 MEN|
|3||MAHESH TIWARI||Men||NA||>600 MEN|
|4||SAMPATHKUMAR SUBRAMANIAN||Men||539||>600 MEN|
|5||ULLAS HOSAHALLI NARAYANA||Men||719||>600 MEN|
|6||AMIT KUMAR||Men||348||>600 MEN|
|7||ANJEET KUMAR||Men||NA||>600 MEN|
|8||ASHOK AZHAGARASAN||Men||475||>600 MEN|
|9||SUNIL SHARMA||Men||NA||>600 MEN|
|12||AAKRITI VERMA||Women||512||>550 WOMEN|