Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. Photograph:( PTI )
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju was speaking after he flagged-off the 15th Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) on Sunday.
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju was amazed to see the participation and enthusiasm of the Delhites especially old, specially-abled, and kids at the 15th Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) and said that he is more excited to see them here.
"We Indians are also now coming up and have seen today's marathon, some of our Indian marathon runners are absolutely running shoulder-to-shoulder with the international runners. Of course, I'm more excited to see the old, specially-abled, and kids also," Rijiju told reporters.
The Great Delhi Run has registered an unprecedented 16,962 runners while the half marathon witnessed a spike of 11 per cent with 13,115 participants.
The 10k run registrations witnessed a jump of 77 per cent to 8,553.The senior citizen runs received 1,430 registrations, while the champions with a disability received 573 registrations.
These inspiring individuals are defying all odds to complete the distance. The IAAF Gold Label race has prize money of $275,000.
"It is a very exciting moment for all of us to see that Delhi Marathon has grown so big. Over the years, Delhi Half Marathon has been peaking up and 40,000 people running on the streets of Delhi early morning. It's a moment what we are waiting for," Rijiju said.
Talking about the 'Fit India Movement', Sports Ministers said that the movement can only be successful if these kinds of marathons are there.
He also praised the Indian athletes and said they are giving tough competition to international athletes.
"Fit India movement can only be enhanced and successful if we can have more marathons like this. The top-ranked international runners are here and they excite the Indian people also," he added.
Earlier in the day, Rijiju flagged off the Marathon from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Following a countdown, Rijiju fired a pistol in the air to begin the run.
The number of registrations for all categories in the ADHM has soared to an all-time high of 40,633 participants, organisers said.