Mumbai set to witness great rivalry

The metropolis is set to witness another intense rivalry for top honours between Kenya and Ethiopia tomorrow when the USD 3,60,000 prize money 11th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is flagged off from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

Kenyans have dominated the men’s section over the last 10 years, winning seven, while Ethiopians have lorded over the women’s event, also with seven titles. The latest edition also promises another hot contest.

Kenya’s two-time champion and Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medal winner John Kelei is bidding to turn back the clock and prove that age has not diminished his skill and stamina in the gruelling 42.195-km distance.

The 37-year-old veteran has won the event back-to-back in 2007 and ’08, was third behind compatriot Kenneth Mungara, who, too, is in the fray this year, in 2009 and was runner-up the next year before clinching the CWG gold in Delhi.

Kelei is aiming to send a strong signal to his country’s athletics federation by his performance here to allow him a chance to defend his CWG title in Glasgow, UK in July-August.

However, he can expect tough competition from former Chicago Marathon winner and compatriot Evans Cheruiyot, who has a personal best of 2:06.25, the fastest in the men’s field which has 16 runners who have clocked 2:10 or below.

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