Tight win for Rahul; Monika cruises

Tight win for Rahul; Monika cruises

Rahul Kumar Pal edged team-mate MD Yunus in the tightest of finishes to emerge winner among Elite Indians in the TCS World 10K run on Sunday.

It was a neck and neck battle between the two as they went around the Sree Kanteerava Stadium track in the final part of the race. Rahul, a 19-year-old from Uttar Pradesh representing Maharashtra here, was marginally ahead at the finish even though both were credited with the same time of 30:15. Kheta Ram was third in 30:17.

The promising Monika Athre from Maharashtra, making her debut here, won the top spot among Indian women, timing 36:46 to come ahead of Swati Gadhave (37:14) and Priyanka Singh Patel (37:23).

In the overall standings, Rahul was 21st while Monika was 17th.
Powered by Rahul, Yunus and Monika, Maharashtra also won the Nation’s Challenge -- the team event that was revived this year -- to pocket the hefty prize money of Rs 4,50,000.

Winners in the Nation’s Challenge is decided on the aggregate times of three of their runners -- two men and one woman. Maharashtra had a total time of 1:37:16, placing them ahead of Rajasthan, featuring Kiran Tiwari, V L Dangi and Kheta Ram, who had an aggregate time of 1:38:23.

“It is my first time in Bangalore, running among seniors,” said Rahul, who hails from Amethi. “I haven’t run much on the road and didn’t think I had a chance here,” added the Army Sports Institute youngster, who had set a meet record in the 5000M besides winning the 10000M at the Junior Federation Cup in Pune earlier this month.

Yunus, recovering from injury, admitted fitness had played a part in him losing out narrowly. “He was fitter than me and that settled the issue,” said Yunus. Armyman Ram Singh Yadav, who has qualified for the London Olympic Games marathon, was 49th in the overall standings in a time of 32:03. Yadav was taking this race as a part of his preparations for the London Games.

Monika, who hails from Nashik, too was thrilled by her victory. “I never thought it would be such a big competition but I was sure I would win. I also wanted to win it for my team,” said Monika who is just out of the junior ranks.

“I have been preparing for this race for the last six months but I was unsure on what tactic to adopt, with many foreign runners in front. Then I decided to run my own race,” she said.

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