New Delhi: The 15th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon saw defending champions Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu successfully retaining their titles in the men's and women's events respectively in the national capital on Sunday.
Belihu narrowly missed out on the course record, set five years earlier by compatriot Guye Adola, by a matter of four seconds after only seizing the lead from Solomon Berihu in the final stretch of the 21 km race on Sunday morning. Berihu finished with a timing of 59:17, with Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie collecting the bronze medal at 59:33.
"At about 18km I started to suffer some back pain, that possibly cost me the course record. I'm a bit disappointed that I missed out on the course record again but I got a personal best so I cannot complain too much," said Belihu when asked about his feelings after missing out on the record yet again.
However, the women's event saw both title-holder Gemechu (1:06:00) and Yelamzerf Yehualaw (1:06:01) smash the course record set by the former by nearly a minute. The finish turned out to be a tense one between these two, with bronze winner Zeineba Yimer almost a minute behind at 1:06:57.
"I was tired after Doha (where she finished fourth in the world championships 5000m two weeks ago) but I wanted to come here and fight for the course record. I knew I was mentally strong," said Gemechu.
The result has helped Gemechu put the disappointment of finishing fifth in the 10,000m event at the Doha World Championships behind, and start on a fresh note with a victory.
"This race has put the frustration of finishing fifth at the world championships behind me," she added.
The 2019 edition of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race was dominated by the Ethiopians, who accounted for five of the six international podium-finishers in the event, including a 1-2-3 finish in the women's category.
Among the Indian runners, L Suriya retained her title in the women's category although she missed out on the course record by over a couple of minutes, finishing at 1:12:49. Uttar Pradesh natives Parul Chaudhary (1:13:55) and Chinta Yadav (1:15:28) occupied the second and third spots respectively.
In the men's event, Andhra Pradesh native Srinu Bugatha (1:04:33) pipped Suresh Patel (1:04:57) and debutant Harshad Mhatre (1:05:12) to win the men's event after finishing a disappointing sixth in the category last year.
Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia and international event ambassador Carmelita Jeter were among the dignitaries present at the event, including the flag-off ceremony as well as at the finish line for the elite athletes. Over 40,000 people turned up for the event, the start as well as the finish line of which was at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium and the course went around the iconic India Gate among other hotspots in central Delhi.
"Fit India Movement’ can only be enhanced and successful if we can have more marathons like this and the top-ranked international marathon runners are here. And they excite Indian people also," said Rijiju after the event.
Overall Inernational Athlete Men :
Andamlak Belihu (ETH) 00:59:10; Solomon Berihu (ETH) 00:59:17; Kibiwott Kandie (KEN); 00:59:33; Alfred Barkach (KEN) 00:59:46; Josphat Boit (KEN) 01:01:18; John Lagat (KEN) 01:01:23; Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH) 01:01:46; Moses Kurong (UGA) 01:02:05; Eric Kiptanui (KEN) 01:02:23; Moses Kibet (KEN) 01:02:27; Mogos Tuemay (ETH) 01:02:48.
Overall International Athlete Women :
Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 01:06:00; Yelamzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 01:06:01; Zeineba Yimer (ETH) 01:06:57; Irene Cheptai (KEN) 01:07:39; Edith Chelimo (KEN) 01:07:40; Alem Nigus (ETH) 01:08:25; Caroline Kipkirui (KAZ) 01:09:44; Dera Dida (ETH) 01:10:14; Gete Alemayehu (ETH) 01:10:32; Sandrafelis Tuei (KEN) 01:11:56.
Overall Indian Athlete Men:
Srinu Bughatha (IND) 01:04:33; Suresh Patel (IND) 01:04:57; Harshad Mhatre (IND) 01:05:12; Man Singh (IND) 01:05:16; Durga Bahadur Budha (IND) 01:05:27; Shankar Man Thapa (IND) 01:06:33; Karthik Kumar (IND) 01:06:35; Narendra Pratap Singh (IND) 01:06:50; Pradeep Chaudhary (IND) 01:07:17.
Overall Indian Athlete Women:
Suriya Loganathan (IND) 01:12:49; Parul chaudhary (IND) 01:13:55; Chinta Yadav (IND) 01:15:28; Kavita Yadav (IND) 01:17:50; Sonika (IND) 01:17:58; Kiran Sahdev (IND) 01:18:15; Varsha Devi (IND) 01:18:46; Jyoti Chauhan (IND) 01:18:56; Nandni Gupta (IND) 01:20:20; Arpita Saini (IND) 01:20:52.
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Updated Date: Oct 20, 2019 14:53:55 IST