Suresh Kumar and Preeja Sreedharan emerged as the fastest Indians at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon held in the capital on Sunday.
Preeja Sreedharan finishes 10th overall
2010 Asian Games gold medallist Preeja Sreedharan retained her marathon title as she clocked 01:19:03 for the overall 10th place finish. Amongst the Indians, Monika Athare came in second with a timing of 01:19:12 and Sudha Singh was adjudged third with 01:19:21.
Preeja who had announced earlier that she will be taking a break from the sport after the 2015 National Games was elated to defend her title successfully. “In the morning I felt very cold, since I am coming from training at Trivandrum, where it was comparatively hot. But I am happy to defend my title and win at ADHM for the 2nd time in a row.”
Suresh Kumar clinches 13th spot overall
Suresh Kumar took one hour and 4.38 minutes to complete the 21.1 km race. The timing enabled him to get a creditable 13th place overall finish. Nitender Singh Rawat (01:04:54) and Kheta Ram (01:04:56) finished second and third respectively amongst the Indian men.
Suresh produced a dominant race as he broke away from the pack at the 17km mark. ‘’It was a very tough field. Me, Kheta Ram and Nitender all stayed together till 16 km. After that, I broke from the group and got a 20-metre lead initially,” said Suresh Kumar.
“Later, I managed to extend the gap and slowed down after being convinced that I am going to win at the 19-km mark. I found the finishing comfortable,” he added.
Guye Adola wins in the elite men’s category
In the elite categories, Ethiopian Guye Adola set a new course record to win the men’s competition while Kenyan Florence Kiplagat emerged triumphant in the women’s event.
Guye Adola clocked 59.06 minutes to shatter the course record set by countryman Atsedu Tsegay in 2013. Reigning World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya finished second as he clocked 59.07 minutes. Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew was third with a timing of 59.11 minutes.
Florence Kiplagat defends her elite women’s title
In the women’s section, Florence Kiplagat defended her title with a timing of 01:10:04. The Kenyan thus became the first woman to defend her title.
Her compatriot and reigning World Half Marathon champion Gladys Cherono (01:10:05) came home second while Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia ended third with a timing of 01:10:07.