Tendulkar to run alongside Kerala governor, chief minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 13 (IANS) Sports lovers in Kerala will have an opportunity to watch cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar run alongside Governor P.Sathasivam and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in a marathon being held across the state Jan 20.

The marathon titled “Run Kerala Run” is intended to popularise the upcoming 35th National Games (Jan 31-Feb 14) that will be held at 30 venues across seven districts of the state. Tendulkar is the goodwill ambassador of the Games.

According to state’s Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, the event’s highlight, however, would be the participation of a 95-year-old retired school teacher.

“Each group would run around 500 metres. The highlight of the event is that the oldest participant would be 95-year-old Chellama, a retired school teacher, who will run at the school she studied in Kottayam,” the minister told reporters here Tuesday.

“The governor will first flag off the run here in front of the state secretariat and then join the run which will culminate about 500 metres at the Central Stadium. Then we will have a meeting too,” he said.

Radhakrishnan said the event would be held across the length and breadth of the state and probably be the biggest mass run ever held. It is to be held across 7,000 points in Kerala for which 14 district collectors are coordinating.

“The response has been tremendous and this is certainly going to enter the Guinness World Records,” said Radhakrishnan.

Other participants joining the mass run will include former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan, religious heads, eminent sportspersons, and film stars.

The minister said that despite the very short period that the state got, “it has done a wonderful job in getting ready all the infrastructure in a very short span of less than two years”.

Starting Wednesday, the chief minister will inaugurate 10 different venues that have either been newly-built or renovated. Seven venues have already been inaugurated.

“Normally, states holding this event get the dates of the event at least four years before, all that we got was under seven months and it was a Herculean effort to get things done,” the minister said.

“The Indian Olympic Association officials will be in the state for two days later this week and once they finish, the venues will be opened for media,” he added.

Radhakrishnan acknowledged the media criticism about the national games and delays, saying he has taken it positively.

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