Regasa, Cheptai bag Delhi Half Marathon titles; Avinash Sable best Indian

It was a photo finish in the ‘Indian Elite’ men’s category between defending champion Avinash Sable and Kartik Kumar, with the duo clocking identical 64 minutes. But it was Sable who was declared the winner by the technical officials of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) after examining the footage.

There were no surprises in the Indian women’s elite section, where Sanjivani Jadhav bagged the crown after two previous podium finishes.

Regasa, 25, came out on top in a thrilling three-man battle over the final kilometre, sprinting away from Kenya’s Felix Kipkoech and fellow Ethiopian Boki Diriba with 400 metres to go to take the USD27,000 prize purse.

Kipkeoch finished second in 60:33 while debutant Diriba, the 18-year-old Ethiopian U20 5000m champion, was third in 60:34. The leading trio passed 20km in 57:31 and duelled almost all the way to the finish line at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

“The final two kilometres were tough, but I knew I had the speed to come out in front as I have a good background at shorter distances on the track,” said Regasa, who was formerly a top-class middle-distance runner.

By contrast, the International women’s race was a one-woman show. Cheptai made a decisive move just after 12 kilometres and was never challenged before reducing her personal best by one second to 66:42. Cheptai, who was in fourth place last time, finished more than a minute in front of Ethiopia’s 2022 World Athletics Championships 5000m bronze medallist Dawit Seyaum, who was second in 68:02. Stella Chesang set a Ugandan record of 68:11 in third place.

Returning to the venue where he became the first Indian to complete the half marathon in under 61 minutes in 2020, Sable said his plan was a little different this year.

“It was overall a good race. We got off to a good start and stayed with the Elite group for the first 7-8 kilometres. Their pace wasn’t that fast and my plan was to stay together with Karthik, who maintained his pace with me through the race,” the 2022 Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist said.

“Since my practice also wasn’t specific to the half marathon this year, my focus was more on placing than timing. In 2020, I trained well for the half marathon and back then I wanted to go for the record,” added Sable.

Srinu Bugatha, a regular marathon runner, finished third in 01:05:25. He was in a challenge with Man Singh (01:05:43) after Sable and Karthik broke away early. “I had to maintain my own pace as Sable and Karthik broke away at the start,” Bugatha said.

Sanjivani was well ahead of the Indian pack right from the start and was hardly challenged by Monika Athare and Priti Lamba who finished second and third respectively.

Sanjivani clocked 01:17:53 while Monika timed 01:18:39 and Priti finished at 01:19:06.

“Soon after the first 2-3 kms, I went ahead and had to pace my own race. If I had a pacer I could have gone faster but I am still happy to finish first,” Sanjivani said.

Provisional Results:

International Men: 1. Chala Regasa (ETH) 60:30; 2. Felix Kipkoech (KEN) 60:33; 3. Boki Diriba (ETH) 60:34; 4. Joshua Belet (KEN) 60:43; 5. Gemechu Dida (ETH) 60:51; 6. Moses Koech (KEN) 60:56; 7. Michel Kamau (KEN) 61:02; 8. Muktar Edris (ETH) 61:05.

International Women: 1. Irine Cheptai (KEN) 66:42; 2. Dawit Seyaum (ETH) 68:02; 3. Stella Chesang (UGA) 68:11; 4. Aminet Ahmed (ETH) 68:34; 5. Lemlem Hailu (ETH) 68:50; 6: Meseret Gebre (ETH) 69:13; 7. Fantaye Belanyeh (ETH) 69:14; 8. Anchinalu Dessie (ETH) 69:53.

Indian Men: 1. Avinash Sable 64:00; 2. Kartik Kumar 64:00; 3. Srinu Bugatha 65:25.

Indian Women: 1; Sanjivani Jadhav 77:53; 2. Monika Athare 78:39; 3. Priti Lamba 79:06.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-Media

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