Kavita, Preeja for high altitude training in Kenya

Mumbai: Top Indian women long distance runners, Kavita Raut and Preeja Sreedharan, along with two other athletes are all set to train at high altitude in Kenya next month as part of their preparation to attain the 2012 Olympic Games qualifying standard.

"The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has planned to send four of us -- myself, Preeja, Sudha Singh (steeplechaser) and M A Prajusha (long jumper) -- to Kenya in October for high altitude training, which would be beneficial for us (in the quest to qualify for the London Games)," said the 26-year-old Kavita on Friday.

Preeja and Kavita won the 10,000m gold and silver medals respectively, at last November`s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. The latter had also won a bronze in the same event a month earlier at the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010.

Kavita, who intends to run in the half-marathon event at the inaugural Vasai-Virar Marathon here on September 18, said that the high altitude training at Ooty that she and Preeja underwent for six months prior to the CWG and Asian Games last year was immensely helpful.

"The training we received at Ooty last year for six months before the Commonwealth and Asian Games was very beneficial. I feel a stint of one or two months in Kenya would be very useful for us," she told reporters here.

Kavita said she was very confident of attaining the qualifying standard for the London Games in 10,000m and 5,000m.

"I am confident of attaining the marks. I would be taking part in the European Grand Prix circuits in November-December," said the athlete, who hails from Nashik in Maharashtra.

The qualifying marks are 32:10 (B standard) and 31:15 (A standard) for the longer event and 15:25 and 15:15 respectively for the 5,000m. And Kavita intends to train and attain the mark in both distances.

Kavita said she and other long distance runners, who train at Bangalore, never consume any food supplements but take only fruit juices to keep themselves hydrated.

"We never take any food supplements but only fruit juices. We also don`t take any medicines unless we`re extremely unwell," she said, while replying about the positive dope tests returned by three members of the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medal winning 4x400m women`s relay squad in June.

The athletes, who flunked the dope tests, had later blamed tainted food supplements that they had taken as the probable cause for testing positive for banned substances.

Meanwhile, the Vasai-Virar Marathon, in which Kavita would be taking part, has also attracted armymen Lyngkoi Bining, the best Indian finisher at this year`s Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon and his teammates Deepchand Saharan, Sagar Mane and Kalidas Dahipule.

A total of 450 entries have been received for the men`s full marathon and 125 for the women`s and in the inaugural year the organisers have decided to restrict the event to only Maharashtra athletes.

The roads in and around Vasai-Virar would be closed for traffic from 7-11 am and the motto of the event is "Save the girl child and maintain nature`s balance".


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