Kolkata, Dec 7 : Defending champion and course record holder Avinash Sable will lead the men's category while IAAF gold label athlete L. Suriya, also the reigning champion, will head the women's contingent in the fifth edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K run here on December 16.
Sable is the course record holder with a time of 1:15:17 he clocked last year. For company, he will have Kalidas Hirave, who was the first runner up at the TSK 2017 with a timing of 1:16:18; and Abhishek Pal, dubbed as the rising star of Indian distance running.
Pal, 21, won the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon this year and completes the troika of favourites among men.
Besides L. Suriya, who clocked a timing of 1:26:53 last year to win the crown, two-time Asian Games medal-winning steeplechaser Sudha Singh and young Monika Athare, who won the New Delhi Marathon 2018, will vie for top honours in the women's section.
Meanwhile, the TSK, for the first time will celebrate Vijay Diwas -- which marks the military victory over Pakistan in 1971 during the war for the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan -- by organising a Vijay Diwas Trophy with active participation of the Eastern Command.
The special category will be contested between the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force with five/six teams from each of the three services. Each team will have three members running the 25K and the aggregate of their individual timings will determine the winner.
The top three teams stand to win Rs 60,000, Rs. 42,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively.
The TSK has this time raised Rs 37 lakhs for charity.