Sanjit Luwang wins Bengaluru marathon

Sanjit Luwang  wins Bengaluru marathon

With barely anyone to challenge him for the most part of the race, Sanjit Luwang won the fourth edition of the Bengaluru marathon on a cool and breezy Sunday morning here.

A havaldar in the 12 Assam regiment, Luwang clocked two hours, 24 minutes and 56 seconds to win the full marathon. Karan Singh of the Army Sports Institute (ASI) won the silver medal in two hours, 28 minutes and 22 seconds while Patle Beniram was third in two hours, 32 minutes and 17 seconds.

Leading the race that had about 2000 starters, the Army athletes set the tone as they broke away from the pack after the initial two kilometres to surge ahead.

While Luwang held a slender lead over the rest, it was not until the 21-kilometre mark at the 29-year-old, who switched to marathon two years back, shifted gears to extend the lead and stamp his authority over the race. "It was an easy race," said Luwang who pocketed the winner's purse of Rs one lakh.

"I had a small lead in the beginning, but the others kept pace with me. Half way through the race I saw them losing energy and drifting behind, so I pushed myself to take go ahead," he added.

Though the Army man admitted that the overnight rain had its effect on the course, with he enjoying a healthy lead, it didn't bother him much. "I didn't think about it. Yes, there was water logging around the MG Road and Cubbon Road stretch, but then I was way ahead. So, that didn't matter much," he said.

In the women's section, Jyothi Gawate proved to be a cut above the rest and eased her way to a third title on the bounce here. The Maharashtra runner clocked three hours, seven minutes and 54 seconds. Jyothi Singh finished second in three hours, 40 minutes and 12 seconds, while the Ranjana completed the podium in three hours, 51 minutes and 17 seconds.

"It feels really good, three titles in a row," said Jyoti post the race. "But then, this is just a build-up to the Mumbai marathon in January next year. I am happy with what I have achieved here, but I think I could have gone much faster," she stated.

Meanwhile, close finishes were the feature in the half marathon with ASI's Durga Bahadur edging past his senior pro-Nitendra Singh Rawat in the final 20 metres to win the 21-kilometre distance in one hour, nine minutes and 16.16 seconds. The Rio Olympian, Rawat, crossed the line in one hour, nine minutes and 16.30 seconds while Albin Sunny was third in one hour, 10 minutes and 32 seconds.

Returning to road racing after being sidelined to a hamstring injury post the Rio Olympics, Rawat was happy with what he had achieved on the day. "It's not about winning, I am happy that I could finish a race without much trouble," he said.

"I am targeting the Mumbai marathon and hopefully by then I will be in shape for the full marathon too," added the National camper who holds the Indian course record at the Mumbai event.

Among the women, Preenu Yadav from the Railways held her nerves to win the half-marathon in one hour, 27 minutes and 30.11 seconds, fractions ahead of her team-mate Jhuma Khatum. Khatum took the silver in one hour, 27 minutes and 30.11 seconds. Anita Choudhary completed the podium in one hour 29 minutes.

Results: Elite: Marathon: Men: Sanjit Luwang (Army) 2::24:56, 1; Karan Singh (ASI) 2::28:22, 2; Patle Beniram (Army) 2::32:17, 3.

Women: Jyoti Gawate (Mahrashtra) 3::07:54, 1; Jyoti Singh 3::40:12, 2; Ranjana 3::51:17, 3.

Half marathon: Men: Durga Bahadur (ASI) 1::09:16.16, 1; Nitendra Singh Rawat (Army) 1::09:16.30, 2; Albin Sunny 1::10:32.

Women: Preenu Yadav (Railways) 1::27:30.11, 1; Jhuma Khatum (Railways) 1::27:30.53, 2; Anita Choudhary 1::29:00, 3.

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