Legese reclaims crownNovember 20, 2017
The 2015 champion Berhanu Legese reclaimed his crown on return to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon here on Sunday even as compatriot Almaz Ayana made a winning debut in the distance.
Ethiopia won five of the six podium positions among men and women. American Leonard Korir, third among the men, was the lone outsider to the Ethiopian party.
Legese took the elite men’s race in 59 minutes and 46 seconds, five seconds ahead of fellow Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu. Korir clocked 59:52 in third.
Among the women, reigning 10,000m World champion and World record holder Almaz came in with a timing of 1:07:11.
While the pollution and weather conditions in the city have been a concern for a while now with some sections even seeking a postponement of the ADHM, Legese insisted the conditions were perfect for the run.
“The weather was great, there was no issue at all,” Legese said.
Among the Indians, Nitendra Singh Rawat edged favourite and defending champion G. Lakshmanan in a photo finish in 1:03:53 after being tied in the lead for the entire duration.
The real battle was in the last 100 metres but even as it looked like Lakshmanan would retain his title, Rawat pipped him at the post as his foot touched the finishing line first. Avinash Sable came third. All three beat the long-standing course record of one hour four minutes set by Deepchand Saharan in 2009.
L. Suriya took the honours among Indian women in 1:10:31.
The results: Overall men: 1. Berhanu Legese (Eth, 00:59:46); 2. Andamlak Belihu (Eth, 00:59:51); 3. Leonard Korir (USA, 00:59:52); Overall women: 1. Almaz Ayana (Eth, 01:07:11); 2. Ababel Yeshaneh (Eth, 01:07:19); 3. Netsanet Gudeta (Eth, 01:07:24); Indian men: 1. Nitendra Singh Rawat (01:03: 53); 2. G. Lakshmanan (01:03:53); 3. Avinash Sable (01:03:58); Indian women: 1. L. Suriya (01:10:31); 2. Sudha Singh (01:11:30); 3. Parul Choudhary (01:13:09).