Ethiopians shine in Mumbai Marathon

Last Updated: Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 14:12

Mumbai: Ethiopians Girma Assefa and Koren
Yal set new course records to complete a sweep for the African
country, winning the men`s and women`s honours at the eighth
edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon here on Sunday.

Assefa completed the 42.1-km race in two hours, nine
minutes and 54 seconds beating the previous record of 2:11:54s
set by Kenya`s Kenneth Mungara two years ago.

He was followed by compatriot Botor Segaye Wolde, who
completed the run clocking 2:09:57s. Kenya`s Patrick Muriuki
was third with a timing of 2:10:00s.

Two-time winner John Kelai, one of the top favourites
to win the event, finished sixth completing the race in
2:11:05s.

In a close-run among at least 15 athletes in the men`s
category, Kenya`s Simon Kasimili had the lead after the six-km
stretch, which he retained after 10kms at Haji Ali. However,
at the half-way stage, Kenya`s Kipkemei Mutai surged ahead
only to be overtaken by Muriuki at the end of the iconic
Rajiv Gandhi Bandra-Worli sea-link.

After the end of the 32-km mark, it was Wolde who ran
into contention, but Assefa saved enough energy to move ahead
when it mattered most and pocketed the title.

In the women`s category, Yal led an all Ethiopian
top-three finish to complete the race in 2:26:56s to break the
course record set by countrywoman Mulu Seboka in 2008.

Merima Mohammed was second clocking 2:29:04s, while
Elfemesh Alemu finished third with a timing of 2:30:04s.

Among Indians, armymen Lyngkhoi Binning, Angad
Kumar and Ram Singh Yadav finished first second and third
respectively.

Thanks to the increased prize money (USD 325,000) and
the IAAF Gold Label status, the event attracted some of the
world`s best male and female long-distance runners. The men`s
and women`s winners would get USD 36,000 each.

Unlike in the past, when a huge crowd had cheered the
athletes, not many people gathered to witness the event today,
though the situation improved during the return leg of the
race.

PTI




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