New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Procam International, the organisers of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, said on Wednesday that they are hopeful that the Delhi High Court will deliver a verdict in their favour and allow them to hold the race as scheduled on Sunday.
The high court had earlier issued notice by taking cognisance of a letter written by Indian Medical Association to Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, seeking postponement of the marathon as the air quality in the national capital was poor and unsafe for physical activity.
“Tomorrow, we have a hearing in the court where we will present our side and it is up to the court to decide. I am very hopeful that it will be a favourable verdict. As far as we are concerned, all preparations have been made,” Procam Joint Managing Director Vivek Singh told reporters here.
“International elite athletes are on their way while the national elite athletes have been training for months, thousands of amateur athletes have been training for months for this particular day.
“This is not a spectator sport but Delhi’s largest participatory sport,” he added.
Elaborating on the safety measures which the organisers are planning ahead of the event, Singh said: “It is inherently a green platform, we are combating the two major causes of pollution on that day — dust management and ban on vehicular movement.”
“We are going to wash the entire course with salt mixed with effluent treated water to absorb the particulate matters. We are going to spray the entire course from 1 a.m. onwards to keep any suspended particulate matter down.
“When you are dealing with the two major causes of pollution, I genuinely believe that our runners will have a good window to run and give their best on the day,” he added.
On being probed what would happen if the court orders postponement of the race, Singh said it may result in top stars like world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui and women’s 10,000m Rio Olympics winner Almaz Ayana skipping the event, which has recently been granted the status of a Gold Label Race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
He said a postponement may disrupt the whole preparation, including raising of funds for charity.
“You can’t ask a runner to stop running today and postpone it for tomorrow, this will only dampen the spirit of our runners. The national runners have not withdrawn nor the international elite athletes, the event ambassadors also haven’t withdrawn.
“If only our authorities have a problem then it is Delhi’s reputation that is at stake.
A postponement will only demoralise the hard work of thousands of running enthusiasts. I don’t know what will happen to them if the race is postpone or cancelled,” Singh added.
Singh, however, made it clear that he will be happy to sit with the international bodies and runners to chalk out a more conducive window, next year.
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