It is for the first time that a 10K INTENCITY RUN will be held between September 2017 and February 2018 across 10 cities in India. The Run is organized with the motive to spread the awareness message of Green and Healthy India. The event is being organized by Andy Event Management, an organization that works to promote talented athletes from small localities throughout the country. We were in conversation with the founder of Andy Event Management, ex-Olympian Anand Menezes to know better about the event.
- A 10k run in 10 cities across the country for 6months is a complete new concept in India. What was the thought behind organizing such an event?
It is our duty as a citizen to keep our country healthy and green. I am an athlete and the best way I can contribute towards this is through running. So at Andy Event Management, we thought of organizing something that will serve both the causes. Thus, 10K INTENCITY concept came to our mind where the participants will be given a plant that will be planted by them in their locality. We feel that this initiative will drive the attention of people and media towards planting as much trees as possible. This, in turn, will help us in achieving our objective of making India Green.
- Which are the cities you will be covering?
We will start from Pune on 10th September. Then we will have it in Indore on 24th September, in Bhubaneshwar on 8th October, Hyderabad on 29th October, Chennai on 12th November, Bengaluru on 26th November and we will end the year in Mumbai on 24th December. Next year the first race will be in Vadodra on 7th January, then on 28th January we will have it in Delhi and we will finish the event in Goa on 11th February.
- Is there only 10km run or you are having different categories?
Yes, 10km is the main attraction but we will be having different categories. We want participants from different age groups and to accommodate them we should have different categories. We are having 10km, 5km and 2km run. 10km run will include men, women, and also veteran participants. The 2km run is for boys and girls aged between 12-16. There is also cash prize involved in the run that will go upto 50lakhs.
- What type of support you are getting?
It’s very encouraging. Our Pune event is supported by Kabaddi team Puneri Paltan. Hockey great Dhanraj Pillay is supporting us. Then there are sponsors who had come forward. Overall the response is overwhelming.
- You are an ex-Olympian and had participated in various national and international meet. How far do you think that time has changed for Indian athletics now?
Yes, time has changed for good. I remember, when I started in 1994, I didn’t know where to get proper training. One of my friends, Leslie Dias, who was a national athlete suggested me to go to Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Kandivali and try my luck. So, I went there, got my admission there and started training. It was in 1994. From there gradually I represented first my state, then my zone and then my country. After winning in 200 metres in nationals I got selected in the Indian team. My aim was to represent India in the Olympics and that happened in 2000. But before that I went to the USA for getting better training spending my own money. At that time, sponsorship in athletics was very hard to get. I know its still a problem but today’s athletes get access to a whole lot of modern facilities. There are also many academies set up by well-known sportsperson where they can train themselves. They do not have to depend on government academies only. Moreover, competition is more, tournaments are more…so sports in India is evolving.
- When you represented India in the Sydney Olympics what was your feeling?
Oh….that was something I waited for since the days I started athletics. I wanted to represent my country internationally and definitely in the Olympics. In 1999, I ran 200 metres in 20.80 seconds and that helped me to get noticed. I also won several medals during that period in both national and international tournaments. So my results got me a chance to be in the Olympics 4x100m relay team. We qualified with a good timing for the Olympics. I can’t express how happy I was. And when I went to Sydney it was a dream come true for me. I was a young boy of 22, I was at the Games village, I got to see all my heroes and idols there. Even when we were at the stadium, with a whole lot of crowd cheering, it was a different experience.
- What are your further plans for development of athletics in India?
I think I have much to offer to Indian athletics. I want to develop my own academy. I will start in my locality, in Vasai. This place has a great sporting culture and I know many young talents, if given the right coaching, will evolve. I am already in talks with the Municipal Corporation about land and everything. Hopefully, very soon, I can start my academy.