There is only a thin line between success and failure. And when the half marathon winner from Delhi, Amdework Walelegn from Ethiopia, crossed the finish line in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on November 29th, Delhi and Procam International jumped for joy. The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon was a success, only the second live sporting event to be held in India amid the pandemic. Around 60 professional and elite athletes, men and women, took to the streets of Delhi on November 29 as Delhi held its 16th half marathon, which defied a number of issues and uncertainties related to the event.
There were of course difficulties, or I would say “challenges” as Vivek Singh, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Procam International, puts it. India has been and is in a nationwide lockdown as international travel continues to be restricted and the only sporting event previously held, the Indian Super League (ISL) in a bio-bubble environment in Goa, where coronavirus cases have occurred on a downhill stretch. On the other hand, Delhi is currently experiencing the third wave of the deadly virus, but with careful planning and support, Procam International has weathered the storm.
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According to Vivek Singh of Procam International, the government of athletes has shown confidence in the Airtel Delhi half marathon
In a telephone interview with Republic World, Vivek Singh commended the support of government officials and believes the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) reputation and track record benefited them. Singh believes the athletes have shown confidence in her and the event traveling to India during these testing times and believes they will be well taken care of. Procam’s co-founder also announced that all athletes invited from abroad were coming to Delhi, which was a fitting tribute to ADHM and the city.
“I wouldn’t call them difficulties. There are different challenges to face and one of them has been bringing the best athletes from all over the world to Delhi. First, they have to have the confidence in Event and Procam, and here is Delhi half The reputation of the marathon benefited them. “
Vivek Singh on difficulties hosting the Airtel Delhi Marathon, which took place on November 29th
Vivek Singh said that the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Government of India, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Government of Delhi and the Sports Authority of India had been extremely supportive of the event. Singh announced that officials had their concerns but were confident and placed their trust in Procam International to host the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. He added that the way the ADHM has been hosted in the past helped authorities give permission for this year’s event and Procam, in turn, followed all the required protocols that were in place. Singh announced that the athletes were only allowed to travel with a COVID-19 negative certificate and were further tested twice before taking the route on November 29th.
Read also: The Ethiopian Walelegn dethrones Belihu and wins the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in record time
“It was more of a mental than a physical battle”: Procam International
The coronavirus pandemic left athletes in isolation at the Le Meridien Hotel while undergoing multiple Covid-19 tests. All participants were assigned separate rooms, while their movements were restricted to pre-determined training areas and the stadium area. Vivek Singh believes the athletes have been helped by the fact that countries around the world have eased strict lockdown measures, which means that running and training has been possible for most athletes in the past few months. Believing it was more of a mental battle than a physical one, he stated that the athletes arrived hungry due to the lack of marathons and races around the world. Singh also credited athletes with adhering to their regimes and routines despite the challenging circumstances.
I am very happy to see that the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon has been organized with adequate health protection measures. In addition to the top international marathon runners, India’s Avinash Sable set a new national record! Congratulations to all winners and participants. # ADHM2020 pic.twitter.com/rvZ56ZWcG5
– Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) November 29, 2020
Also read: Olympic Sable breaks national half marathon record, first Indian to complete it in less than 61 minutes
“The pollution problem has been alleviated, the athletes have done better every year.”
Pollution in Delhi has always been a major problem and many have claimed that the race is almost “suicidal” for the participating athletes. Vivek Singh recognized the threat of pollution and said the ADHM could provide athletes with a safe corridor for the event and had taken appropriate action. In addition, athletes have done better each year, further testifying that this pollution problem may be a health concern.
“The pollution in Delhi has been a big factor, but over the years we’ve proven that we can provide a safe and secure passageway for athletes to run and enjoy our pollution control measures. We had our Devic Earth Pure Skies machine installed at two ends of the course that reduce particulates by 40%, while the Delhi government provided us with anti-smog machines that sprayed mist to further reduce particulates. “
-Vivek Singh on air quality and pollution concerns in Delhi
ADHM gave the message of courage and hope: Vivek Singh
When asked if the vaccine gave him hope in the face of the 2021 Mumbai Marathon and other upcoming events, Vivek Singh said that while the vaccine is important, ADHM has shown that Indians can safely and responsibly conduct major events. The Co-Founder of Procam International added, “Even without the vaccine, we must safely do what we must do what is possible for us.” Singh went on to state that the message of “courage and hope” that the Delhi half marathon brought was the greatest for him, as it was in these challenging times, and believes that one should not be afraid of things because of the pandemic.
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Regarding future events, Vivek Singh claimed that after ADHM’s success, the 2021 Mumbai Marathon and the Kolkata Marathon are all possible. While Procam International has listed dates on their website, Singh announced that they are still working on making the events happen in the near future. Until the dates are fixed and we see the athletes on the streets again, one can only praise the courage of Procam International and everyone involved in the Airtel Delhi half marathon and hope that they can continue this despite all the storms. including coronavirus and pollution.
(Courtesy of ADHM, Tata Motors Cars Twitter)