HNExpress Staff Reporter : Mary Pierce’s inspiring presence will boost runners at next month’s 2022 Tata Steel Kolkata 25K (TSK 25K). The former Grand Slam tennis champion was named the International Event Ambassador by the race’s promoter Procam International on Friday. Instituted in 2014, TSK 25K sparked a running revolution in eastern India. The seventh edition of this World Athletics Elite Label Road race will take place on December 18.
Pierce won two Grand Slam singles crowns from six finals, 18 WTA singles titles, reached a career-high world No 3, and remains the last French player to win the French Open singles (2000). “Running is the most simple and universal sport,” Pierce said. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of good health and social life. Running has this transformational experience on individuals and also teaches one to be patient and persevere. I’m excited to be a part of TSK 25K.”
Prodigiously talented as a child, Pierce turned professional at 14 years and two months and was one of the original power hitters in women’s tennis. Her remarkable grit showed in her resurgence as she reached the singles finals of the French Open and the US Open in 2005 after previously having dropped out of the top 250 in the world rankings.
Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President (Corporate Services), Tata Steel Limited, said: “We are delighted that the legendary Mary Pierce will join us in the City of Joy as the International Event Ambassador for Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, eastern India’s biggest running festival. While Pierce’s on-court battles have been legendary, her composure and discipline have always shown through despite adversities. We are certain her association with our event will motivate running and fitness enthusiasts, besides also ensuring inclusive and diverse participation.”
Naarayan TV, Chief Marketing Officer, IDFC FIRST Bank said, “Mary Pierce is an icon of Tennis and has been an inspiration to sports enthusiasts the world over. As someone who is known for her resilience and ability to raise the game at will, her association with the event will be a huge encouragement to runners who are set to take the track at the 25K.”
Vivek Singh, Jt MD, Procam International, said: “Pierce was the epitome of resilience, and her spectacular run in 2005 after being written off is one of the sport’s great comeback stories. We are delighted to have her as the International Event Ambassador — an inspiration both on and off the court.”
Registrations for all categories — 25K, open 10K, Ananda Run (4.5 km), Senior Citizens’ Run (2.3 km), and Champions with Disability (2.3 km) — will remain open until November 30, IST 11:59 p.m., or till running places are filled, whichever is earlier, at tatasteelkolkata25k.procam.in All confirmed participants will receive a goodie bag at the Expo in addition to a running bib, while the 25K participants will also get a Race Day Tee.
The 25K and 10K finishers will receive a medal and a timing certificate. Ananda Run participants will get a Participation medal and certificate. The Champions with Disability and Senior Citizens’ Run participants will be given a Participation certificate.