NEW DELHI — The alarming levels of pollution in the national capital have forced the organizers of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon – currently scheduled for Nov. 19. – to consider changing the date of the event.
"There is a possibility to shift this event to a new window... we may organize the event earlier or later. We have the option of the alternative window. We will discuss with our stakeholders and see which will the best window for the event," said Vivek Singh, joint managing director of Procam International, the organizers of the event, here Nov. 9.
A few days ago, Airtel, one of the prime sponsors for the last nine years, also threatened to pull out of the annual event, citing pollution levels in the city. However, the company came out in support of organizers Nov. 9.
"As always, we will continue to support the event. It is great to see the fantastic response to the call for registration for ADHM," said Ravi Negi, CEO of Bharti Airtel, Delhi NCR.
Singh also said the foreign athletes returned home satisfied with the conditions in previous editions of the event.
"All foreign participants are aware of the situation and will participate. Last year, Rio Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge won the event in almost similar conditions and returned without complaints," he said.
"You cannot cancel an international event so easily. Athletes are preparing since last many months and there is no question of cancelling the event."
The Indian Medical Association called for cancellation of the event a few days ago but Singh said the event will go on as planned.
"They have issued a warning and they are right. It is a concern but we still have 10 days to go and air quality might improve," he said.
"To reduce the pollutants, roads will be sprayed and treated with salt water and all vehicles will be off roads 12 hours prior to the event, and hopefully improved air conditions will bring better running experience for the participants."