Desisa, Kabuu win Delhi Half Marathon
Desisa, Kabuu win Delhi Half Marathon
NEW DELHI: Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia emerged in the men's elite category, while Kenya's won the women's title as more than 30,000 Delhiites braved a chilly Sunday morning to run at the on Sunday.
Two-time winner and course record holder Deriba Merga of Ethiopia pulled out of the event yesterday due to an injury.
Merga, ranked fourth in the world and winner of titles in 2008 and 2009, holds the course record of 59.15 min clocked in 2008, which is his personal best in this distance.
Last edition's runner-up Desisa faced stiff competition from the Kenyan duo of Geoffrey Kipsang and Mike Kigen, who finished second and third respectively.
Desisa ran for 59 minutes and 30 secs to cover 21.097 km and pocket USD 25,000 winner's purse.
Kipsang, who was matching the pace of Desisa most of the distance, failed to accelerate towards the end and clocked 59 minutes and 31 seconds to settle for a silver. Kigen clocked 59 minutes and 58 seconds to win the bronze.
In the women's event, Kabuu led a Kenyan sweep, winning the race in one hour, seven minutes and four seconds with her compatriot Sharon Cherop clocking 1:07:08s to settle for silver.
Last year's winner, Ethiopia's Aselefch Mergia, failed to defend her title and settled for bronze clocking 1:07:21s.
(1:04:06) finished first among Indian men and overall 20th in the race. Kheta Ram (1:04:43) and V L Dangi (1:05:01) came second and third among Indian runners respectively.
Lalita Babbar successfully defended her title and was the fastest woman among Indians clocking 1:17:37, followed by Kiran Tiwari (1:17:58) and Swati Gadhave (1:20:55).
The 20-year-old Kipsang, who settled for silver, said, "Course was so good. I was aiming for a sub-60 finish and I did it today. I was leading till the last 300 yards and so but he (Desisa) zipped pass me towards the end."
The lead bunch of Ethiopians and Kenyans were well within course record time after the first 10 kms, but Desisa slowed down and though he stepped it up again in the last stages of the race, he failed to lower the course record of 59.15s, set by Merga in 2008.
Other Ethopian teammates failed to give any scare to the Kenyan trio of Kipsang, Kigen and Sammy Kitwara. Desisa dogged the two Kenyans for most part of the race and shouldered the burden of carrying his country's flag to the gold medal finish.
Meanwhile, in the women's event, Kabuu led a Kenyan sweep, winning the race in one hour, seven minutes and four seconds with her compatriot Sharon Cherop clocking 1:07:08s to win silver. Last year's winner Ethiopia's Aselefch Mergia failed to defend her title and settled for bronze clocking 1:07:21s.
It was another close race with a bunch of around 10 runners maintaining the lead throughout, before Kabuu burst into a sprint to lead the Kenyan sweep.
"I am happy to record my personal best. I was hoping to cross the world record but I am happy with my performance today. The race was enjoyable; course was flat and very good. The weather was not too bad but it was a bit cold. I wish the organisers invite me next year also," said Kabuu.
The athlete also said that she was happy for her countrymate Cherop, who finished runner-up.
"We were supporting each other. I am happy for her (Cherop)," added Kabuu.
But Kabuu conceded that she was concerned about Mergia, as she is well known for making fast sprints towards the end.
Each of the winners in the men's and women's elite category bagged USD 25,000 while second and third place finishers pocketed USD 15,000 and 10,000 respectively.
Suresh Kumar (1:04:08) finished first among Indian men and overall 20th in the race. Army Sports Institute's Kheta Ram (1:04:44) and Dangi V L (1:05:02) came second and third among Indian runners respectively.
Lalita Babbar successfully defended her title and was the fastest woman among Indians clocking 1:17:38s, followed by Kiran Tiwari (1:17:59), winner of the Jaipur Marathon 2011, and Swati Gadhave (1:20:56).
Each of the Indian top finishers would be richer by $4000.
The qualifying times for the Indian men and elite athletes were below 1.10 mins and 1.25 mins respectively.
While 8,368 participants ran the half marathon distance of 21.097 kms, the 7km Great Delhi Run was participated by 21,095 people, which was flagged off from the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium by Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan and Bipasha Basu.
The event returned to the JLN Stadium after a gap of three years.
The 4.3km senior citizens run witnessed 815 participants and the 2.5 km wheelchair event had 43 competitors.
ADAG chairman Anil Ambani, a serious long distance runner and regular participant in the half marathon category of the Mumbai Marathon, made his second appearance as a runner on the roads of the capital city.
Running along with him in the half marathon were Bollywood's Gul Panag, Rahul Bose and Rajeev Khandelwal. Also seen participating in the race was liquor baron Vijay Mallya's son Siddharth.