Ethiopians on top at Delhi Half Marathon
New Delhi: Ethiopia ruled the roost at the 2018 Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday with Tsehay Gemechu setting a new course record on her way to the women’s title while Andamlak Belihu emerged triumphant among the men.
Tsehay beat off some tough competition to cross the line at 1 hour 6 minutes and 50 seconds. In the process she broke the long standing previous record of 1:06:54 which was set by Mary Keitany of Kenya in 2009.
Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, the current world record holder, was second at 1:06:56 while Ethiopia’s Zeineba Yimer was third with 1:06:59.
In the men’s category, Belihu recorded a time of 59 minutes and 17 seconds. His compatriot Amdework Walelegn was a close second with a personal best of 59:21.
Kenya, the other powerhouse of long distance running, got the bronze as Daniel Kipchumba finished third with a time of 59:48.
Among the Indian men, Abhishek Pal finished first at 1:04:13.
He was given a tough fight throughout the race by Avinash Sable who was a mere second behind at 1:04:14.
Gopi Thonakal was third with 1:04:15.
Among the Indian women, Sanjivani Jadhav (1:13:58), Parul Chaudhary (1:14:01) and Monika Athare (1:16:55) were the top three finishers.
The men’s race was a fast, neck and neck contest from start to finish. Belihu and Walelegn both crossed the 10-km mark at 28:02 with Kipchumba trailing them by one second.
Walelegn matched Belihu stride for stride till the 17-km mark after which the latter increased his pace and gradually began to pull away.
Belihu, who had finished runner-up to fellow Ethiopian Berhanu Legese last year, asserted that he had worked harder in the run up to this edition.
“I was not able to win last year. I trained harder this year. I was determined to win this year and I am happy that all my hard work has borne fruit,” he told the media after the race.
“Last year was my first experience here. I had better knowledge of the course this year which came in handy. The pacemaker did not do the kind of job I wanted, otherwise I would have perhaps registered a better timing. But I am happy with my performance,” he added.
The 19-year-old, who has started competing in marathons and half marathons only recently, wants to focus on track events for now.
“I am not thinking of marathons for now. I want to focus on track events and win gold at the World Athletics Championships and the World Cross Country Championships next year. I might switch to the marathon sometime in the future,” he said.