Raman from Andhra, Soniya from Uttarakhand and Sahil Gill from Chandigarh won the first prize in their respective categories at the National Red Run 2023, organised by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in collaboration with Goa State AIDS Control Society (GSACS).
Over 150 runners from different Red Ribbon Clubs of India, participated in the competitive 10km run. The most intense battle though, came in the first category where Chandigarh duo Sahil (31:53:01) and Vineeta Gurjar (31:53:13) made it a 1-2 finish with a fraction of a second separating them. West Bengal’s Subhasis Ghosh (32:51:04) finished third.
In the second category, Soniya (37:11:30) beat Sanghamitra Mahata (37:23:04) of Jharkhand for the top prize in a close contest. Maharashtra’s Pranali Shegokar (38:16:97) took home the bronze medal.
Andhra’s Raman (56:31:52) and E Satyanarayana Naik (57:07:00) bagged the gold and silver medals respectively. Tamil Nadu’s T Dhanish (1:00:37.1) finished third.
Cash prizes were also awarded with the winners getting Rs 50 Thousand, runners-up earning Rs 35 Thousand while the third-placed athlete pocketing Rs 25 Thousand.
The organisers also drew overwhelming participation in the non-competitive 2km fun run, where medals and participation certificates were presented to runners from general public category.
With a big number of overall participants, the organisers were successful in driving the message of sports for healthy hobbies to keep the youth away from risky behaviour; as part of raising awareness around HIV/AIDS/STI.
Addressing gathering at the prize distribution ceremony, Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant congratulated Goa State AIDS Control Society for organising the unique event and also sounded optimistic about making this an annual feature as Government of Goa has continually supported the sports events of National and International level to make the state a sports tourism destination.
Dr Sawant also emphasised the resolve to make Goa fitter and progressive in keeping with PM Narendra Modi’s target of Vikasit Bharat 2047. He called on the NACO and State societies to work towards the goal of making HIV AIDS cases drop to zero.
The Chief Minister underscored the important role played by social organisations and NACO in spreading awareness and creating a sense of inclusiveness as well as friendliness towards the AIDS infected people.
“I call upon the civil society to eradicate all forms of isolation and bias against AIDS affected persons. This is possible only through consistent awareness through various programmes and initiatives,” said Dr Sawant and urged the general public to use the 1097 helpline to report any misbehaviour or bias happening if any, against AIDS infected persons.
Health Minister, Vishwajeet Rane said NACO should come out with guidelines making available safety measures through dispensers at hotels, restaurants and in coastal areas.
Citing the examples of different types of pressure, Rane said: “Peer pressure is becoming dangerous to young generation. Parents should assist the children in controlling such pressure.”
The Health Minister urged Red Ribbon Club to go the extra mile in creating awareness in colleges and other institutions. This subject is not restricted only to colleges but also in schools and at higher levels, the Minister added.
Hekali Zhimomi, IAS, Additional Secretary and Director General, National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, also spoke on the occasion. Nidhi Kesarwani, IAS, Director of NACO, was also present.
GIS Atlas, brought out by Goa State AIDS Control Society, was also launched at the hands of the Chief Minister.
Earlier, Dr. Gokuldas Sawant, Project Director, Goa State AIDS Control Society, welcomed the guests. Joint-Director Umakant Sawant proposed the vote of thanks.