Bijay, Laxmi triumph in Bengaluru marathon

Bijay, Laxmi triumph in Bengaluru marathon

Indian duo of Bijay Deka (left) and Laxmi won the men’s and women’s titles respectively in the Bengaluru Marathon on Sunday. DH PHOTO/ SK Dinesh

India’s Bijay Deka, racing for the first time in Bengaluru, emerged victorious in the men’s marathon here on Sunday. The 22-year-old Bijay covered the distance of 42.2 kilometres in 2 hours 35 minutes and 27 seconds in the Bengaluru Marathon, sponsored by Shriram Properties.

Japan’s Koji Tanaka, who arrived here two days ago, came second in 2:40:47. A regular-runner Tanaka previously competed in Thailand at the Muang Thai Marathon where he claimed the first place in the 21.1 km run.  Mikiyas Yemata of Ethiopia, the last edition’s winner, clocked 2:45:08 to settle for the third position.

Bijay, who in January had won the 18-24 age category race in Mumbai marathon, had strategically planned out his run. The Assamese started out at a decent pace and even conceded the lead a few times in the first 20 km stretch, but after that, he accelerated and kept up the speed to leave his fellow runners behind. “We kept exchanging leads initially but after that, they couldn’t catch me. I wanted to better my time, but after since I was alone after 20 km, I had relaxed a bit,” said a delighted Bijay after the race.

Uttarakhand’s Laxmi won in the women’s marathon. The 21-year-old, running her first full marathon, timed 3:24:09 to comfortably beat Shreya Deepak (3:36:38) and Shilpi Sahu (3:40:46). 

Laxmi, who until now had experience of running only the half-marathon, led right from the start. At any point, she never gave up the lead, maintaining a constant pace throughout the period to thwart the attempts of other competitors.

“I was ahead from the beginning, there were a few girls, who were chasing me but I maintained my lead,” claimed Laxmi, who competed at the 10K event in Mysuru last week.

Laxmi had been training at the SAI centre here for the last month. In the half-marathon (21.1 km), Isaac Kembol Mhemui of Kenya timed 1:12.04 to finish first among men. He was followed by the Madras Engineer Group (MEG) duo of Anbu Kumar (1:13:10) and Dhanesh MD (1:13:23) respectively.

The women’s section saw Preenu Yadav taking the top honours in 1:28:56. Aasa TP clocked 1:29:28 to bag the second spot while Smitha DR finished third in 1:33:46.

Results: Marathon: men: Bijay Deka (Ind) 2:35:27, 1; Koji Tanaka (Jap) 2:40:47, 2; Mikiyas Yemata (Eth) 2:45:08, 3. Women: Laxmi (Ind) 3:24:09, 1; Shreya Deepak (Ind) 3:36:38, 2; Shilpi Sahu (Ind) 3:40:46, 3. Half-marathon: men: Isaac Kembol Mhemui (Ken) 1:12.04, 1; Anbu Kumar (Ind) 1:13:10, 2; Dhanesh MD (Ind) 1:13:23, 3. Women: Preenu Yadav (Ind) 1:28:56, 1; Aasa TP (Ind) 1:29:28, 2; Smitha DR (Ind) 1:33:46, 3.

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