Kavita clocks Rio qualifying time; Rawat triumphs

Kavita clocks Rio qualifying time; Rawat triumphs

 Indians Nitender Singh Rawat and Kavita Raut won the men’s and wo­men’s marathon events at the 12th South Asian Games respectively here on Friday, with the latter also earning a qualifying time for the Rio Olympics.

The 30-year-old Nashik runner Kavita, who clocked 2::38:38.00 in a race run on a 10-km loop, joined OP Jaisha, Lalita Babar and Sudha Singh as the four Indian women who have attained qualification mark for the Rio Olympics. Only three entries are permitted in an event. Of the four, Lalita also holds a qualifying time for the 3000M steeplechase while Jaisha is not keen on running the marathon, seeking a qualifying standard for 10000M or 5000M instead.

Sri Lanka’s NG Rajasekara (2::50:47.00) took home the silver medal while compatriot BGL Anuradhi won the bronze after clocking 2::52:15.00.

Unlike the lop-sided wo­men’s marathon, the men’s race witnessed a strong fight between Rio bound Nitender and Sri Lanka’s Cooray Anuradha. The duo slugged it out for most of the race keeping pace with each other until the end when Nitender pipped his rival by a second. Nitender clocked 2::15:18.00, just ahead of Cooray with India’s Kheta Ram claiming bronze with a timing of 2::21:14.00. The men’s race witnessed a bizarre ending. After crossing the line in an intensely fought race, Nitender kept running under the assumption that he had another lap left before the organisers stopped him. Nitender took a minute to comprehend what the organisers were telling him before realising that he had already won.

India’s athletics contingent thus signed off with an impressive haul 28 gold, 20 silver and nine bronze, nearly matching their best effort of 29 gold, 26 silver and eight bronze in 1987.

Results: Marathon: Men: Nitender Singh (Ind) 2::15:18.00, 1; Cooray Anuradha (SL) 2::15:19.00, 2; Kheta Ram (India) 2::21:14.00, 3. 

Women: Kavita Raut (Ind) 2::38:38.00, 1; NG Rajasekara (SL) 2::50:47.00, 2; BGL Anuradhi (SL) 2::52:15.00, 3.

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