6 athletes to train at Iten, Kenya


Sports Authority of India (SAI) along with Procam International and Global Sports Communication (GSC) launched the Elite Distance Running Program (EDRP) in Bhopal last year to promote middle and long distance running at the grassroots. Six top athletes, Brother-sister duo Abishek & Phoolan Pal (Uttar Pradesh), Harshad Mhatre (Maharashtra), Murli Gavit (Gujarat), Priti Lamba (Haryana) and Sangeeta Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) will be travelling to Kenya for five weeks training at Iten, Kenya. They are being accompanied by SAI coach Shri Surinder Paul and the camp is being conducted in Kenya under Head Coach Hugo Van Den Broek. Hugo has been closely associated with these athletes since December 2014. The athletes will have access to good facilities and an opportunity to train alongside some of the best talent from across the world.

With 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a target, the aim of EDRP has been to encourage and nurture Indian athletes and provide them professional training and international exposure in order to compete at the highest level. Each year, SAI along with Procam International and GSC, will identify and add new talent to the program. EDRP will continue to promote the athletes for Tokyo Olympics and provide a holistic approach to training of athletes, which will include specialised coaching, Sports Nutrition, Physical training, and Mental Preparation Programs.

6 selected Athletes

6 selected Athletes

Shri Injeti Srinivas, D G, SAI said, “Elite Distance Running Program 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.”

Commenting on this Vivek Singh, Joint M.D., Procam International, said,”We are glad to partner Sports Authority of India to carry out a pioneering and first of its kind Elite Distance Running Program for Indian athletes. We believe India possesses extraordinary running talent that needs to be spotted and nurtured in the right manner. We are proud, that the programme has reached its last leg and we are sure the exposure these athletes receive will help them reach greater heights of success”.

The process of identification and selection of raw talent for the first edition of EDRP got underway in August 2014.  As part of EDRP, over 1000 young men and women in the age group of 16 to 23 years from across India participated in trials conducted by SAI across seven centres. The athletes were put through their paces in the distances of 3, 5 and 10K. This group was then invited to participate in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2014, the most prestigious half marathon in the world.  The runners participated in three timed race categories of 3, 5, 10K at the event. From those that participated, 40 athletes were further shortlisted based on their timings in New Delhi for advanced training at the SAI Academy in Bhopal. Here the athletes’ trained under the expert guidance of Dutch long-distance runner and coach Hugo Van Den Broek (GSC).

15 top athletes were further shortlisted and the team began training at Sport Authority of India (SAI) facility in Dharamsala. The camp then moved to the SAI Facility in Bengaluru and two of the athletes were invited to participate in the TCS World 10K, Bengaluru. After months of rigorous training, the top six were selected at SAI, Bengaluru to travel to Iten, Kenya.

Five key areas of focus at EDRP have been Performance Excellence, Athlete Coaching & Leadership, Performance Science & innovation, Sports Workforce Development Program, and Long Term Athlete Development.

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