Mutola to support Bangalore 10K race

Bangalore, May 7 (IANS) Three-time World Champion and Sydney Olympic gold medallist Maria Mutola, often ranked as the greatest female 800 metres runner of all time,has been confirmed as the Event Ambassador for the TCS World10K Bangalore 2013.

A release from event promoters Procam International Tuesday said Mutola will be in the city in the days leading up to the event and meet and interact with the participants, the media as well as the sponsors and partners of the event.

“It’s an honour to be invited as Event Ambassador for the TCS World 10K Bangalore, the world’s premier 10K run. India is fast emerging as one of the leading long distance running destinations of the world and I am looking forward to interacting with running enthusiasts in Bangalore.

“I hope my visit helps in some way to inspire young, budding athletes to work harder and achieve glory,” said Mutola in her message.

The TCS World 10K Bangalore 2011 had reigning Olympic Marathon champion Constantina Dita as the event ambassador, while 2012 saw the arrival of sprinting great Linford Christie.

David Rudisha, who set an 800m World record at the London Olympics, was the event ambassador of the Delhi Half Marathon in 2012, while ‘King’ Haile Gebrselassie uplifted the 2013 Mumbai Marathon with his presence.

Mutola’s consistency, her record at major championships and her ability to compete at the highest levels of the sport for well over a decade are unmatched.She is the fourth track and field athlete to compete atsix Olympic Games.

Mutola won theIAAF World Indoor Championships in1997 only weeks after her father had been killed in a car accident. She raced wearing a black ribbon and dedicated the victory to his memory.

In total, she has won nine World 800m titles, including both indoor and outdoor championships. She won the Commonwealth Games twice and has also the IAAF World Cup representing the Africa team, four times consecutively.

Mutola’s greatest moment came at the2000 Sydney Games when she finally won Olympic gold by defeating her major rivalsStephanie Grafand Kelly Holmes.

Mutola continued her successes in the 2001 season, grabbing the world title inEdmontonand again in 2003 in Paris. She was unbeaten throughout 2003 and grabbed the headlines again that year, at the Memorial van Damme race in Belgium where her victory made her the sole winner of the IAAF $ 1 million jackpot, awarded to athletes who remained undefeated during the IAAF Golden Leagueseries of competitions.

Mutola donated part of her winnings towards the foundation that she had established in her name in Mozambique.

Mutola had decided that the2008 Olympic Gameswould be her last major championships, and she finished fifth. She publicly called an end to her 21-year long athletics career at theWeltklasse Zurich meeting immediately after the Olympics.

After retiring from athletics she returned to her first sporting love, football. She played for Mamelodi Sundowns team in the South African women’s league. In 2011, she was captain of the Mozambique national soccer team at the All-Africa Games in Maputo.

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