Kipyego, Wude top in style
Rahul, Sudha claim first place among Indians
Kenya’s Edwin Kipyego and Ethiopia’s Yimer Wude won the men’s and women’s titles respectively in the Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon on Sunday.
The heat and humidity proved to be punishing with none of the elite athletes shattering the course record for the 21.097 km run.
The men’s event was dominated by the Kenyans, who made a clean sweep of the podium. Despite the testing conditions, Kipyego clocked his personal best timing of 1:00:55 and was followed by compatriots Leonard Langat (1:01:07) and Silas Kipruto (1:01:57).
Kipyego broke away from the pack at the 11-km stage and burst to a near solitary run before some of the athletes bridged the gap towards the fag end. However, it was only when he reached 18 km could the 23-year-old feel assured of a victory.
“The weather was hot and humid and it got worse later. I tried to keep up with the record for sometime but could not continue. I was not expecting to win, so I am very happy,” said Kipyego.
In fact, none of the fancied athletes like defending champion Lelisa Desisa, this year’s fastest athlete, Atsedu Tsegay or Ezekiel Chebii could even come near the mark. Desisa, who had a personal best timing of 59:30, developed Achilles tendon pain to finish seventh at 01:02:50 while Tsegay slipped out of top 20.
It was a similar story in the women’s event with none of the favourites taking the top spot. Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia, the winner in 2008 and 2010, could not finish the race because of a leg injury.
It was Wude who crossed the finish line first at 1:11:10. She had won the bronze medal in 10,000 metres at the 2009 World Championships and silver in the 2011 All-Africa Games. Compatriot Waganesh Amare came second clocking 1:11:12, six seconds ahead of Kenyan Helah Kiprop.
“I am very happy. It was a good race. The conditions were not really great to race as it became very hot after a while. We ran together till the end but in the last few metres, I decided to push,” said Wude.
The winners in both men’s and women’s competition took home $25,000 with runners up earning $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.
Among the Indian men, Army Sports Institute, Pune’s middle distance runners Rahul Kumar Pal and Nitender Sigh took the top two places. Pal was the fastest amongst elite Indian men and 16th overall with a timing of 1:06.12 followed by Nitender (1:06:14) and Indrajeet Patel of ONGC (1:06:15).
Sudha Singh was best among the Indian elite women, clocking 1:19.34, followed by 2007 and 2008 winner and course record holder Kavita Raut (1:19:53) and last year’s champion Lalita Babbar (1:20:47).
The Indian winners got richer by Rs 2,50,000 with runners-up earning Rs 2,00,000 and Rs 1,50,000.
Results: Men: Edwin Kipyego (Ken) 01:00:55, 1; Leonard Langat (Ken) 01:01:07, 2; Silas Kipruto (Ken) 1:01:57, 3. Women: Yimer Wude (Eth) 01:11:10, 1; Waganesh Amare (Eth) 01:11:12 2; Helah Kiprop (Ken) 01:11:18,3. Indian athlete: Men: Rahul Kumar Pal 01:06:12 (overall 16th), 1; Nitender Singh 01:06:14 (overall 17th) 2; Indrajeet Singh 01:06:15 (overall 18th) 3. Women: Sudha Singh 01:19:34 (overall 17th) 1; Kavita Raut 01:19:53 (overall 18th) 2; Lalita Babbar 01:20:47 (overall 20th) 3. Inter-college sporting challenge: Men: Shyamlal College (01:17:14) 1; IGIPESS Boys (01:18:36) 2; Khalsa College (01:19:27) 3. Women: IGIPESS Girls (01:34:58) 1; Lakshmibai College (01:38:50) 2; Miranda College (01:40:43) 3.