Agra to host international half marathon

Agra: Athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to participate in an international half marathon to be held in this Taj city in February 2013 with a winners` purse of Rs.2 crore, an official said on Friday. It`s envisaged as an annual event.

"It will be grand and truly international. The best-known marathon runners from Kenya, Ethiopia and of course the Indian sports fraternity will be there, plus a galaxy of celebrities," chief coordinator Harvijay Singh Bahia told IANS.

According to Bahia, the event will catapult the city into the list of international sporting events.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will flag off the marathon, he said.

The event is being organised by an international event management company with a huge budget. The BBC will get broadcast rights for three years.

The state government has directed the local administration to help out in planning the event and provide necessary backup support like security. Cabinet minister Aridaman Singh is actively involved in the planning and execution of the project.

The event will boost Agra`s tourism industry, Bahia said.