Maldivian athletes secured fifth place at the 16th Asian Cross-Country Championship held in Kathmandu, Nepal, on March 7.
The men’s team won fifth place in the 10-kilometer marathon event.
This year’s championship consisted of four major events, including the men’s and women’s open categories, the men’s 10-kilometer category, the men’s under-20 eight-kilometer event, and the women’s six-kilometer event.
All three of the male athletes from the Maldives competed in the men’s 10-kilometer category. In the event, Maldives’ Yoosuf Ibrahim completed the race in 41 minutes and 1.795 seconds, while Mohamed Fawaz completed it in 42 minutes and 28.784 seconds, and Mohamed Irufan ended the race at 43 minutes and 24.354 seconds.
The cross-country championship is held on an all-terrain track consisting of muddy earth and high-altitude areas.
The host country, Nepal, took the championship title with an average of a 10-minute difference between Nepalese and Maldivian athletes in completing the run.
A total of 25 athletes competed in the men’s 10-kilometer marathon, which included athletes from five other countries besides Nepal and the Maldives. Iran secured second place in the event, while India placed third and Pakistan came in fourth. Athletes from Bangladesh and Chinese-Taipei also participated in the event.
The Maldivian athletes, who train at sea level, had to perform at high altitudes. The local contingent’s coach, Abdulla "Abulho" Ibrahim, said he was happy with the team’s performance and their results. He also said that Maldivian athletes could stand a chance to secure medals at a similar event if they receive training at high-altitude locations.
“They trained at sea level in the Maldives and had to compete nearly 1,500 feet above sea level here [in Nepal], which presented challenges to the athletes,” Abdulla said.
"Maldives is a flat country, so the uphill and downhill tracks will pose a challenge for local athletes. But if they receive training for two or three months in a high-altitude location, then they may stand a chance to win medals," the coach added.