Desisa, Kabuu crowned winners of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

November 27th, 2011 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia clocked 59 minutes 30 seconds to win the men’s event in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon while Kenya’s Lucy Wangui Kabuu set a personal best of 1:07:04 to emerge the fastest in the women’s field amid chilly weather conditions in the national capital Sunday.

Suresh Kumar did his home town of Varanasi proud as he was the best Indian in the men’s category in 01:04:08. Kheta Ram came in second but was well off the pace on 01:04:44.

Defending champion Lalita Babbar once again proved why she is regarded as one of the top women distance runners in the country as she won in 01:17:38, bettering her time from last year. Kiran Tiwari and Swati Gadhave rounded up the top three setting their personal bests of 01:17:59 and 01:20:56.

Desisa, last year’s runner-up was locked in battle with Kenyan Geofrrey Kipsang, who held the lead till the very end but with a great burst of speed in the last 200 yards, the Ethiopian passed his rival to finish 15 seconds off the course record.

The top three men all registered their personal bests, Kipsang finished just 1 sec behind the leader in 59:31 while compatriot Mike Kigen came third with 59:58.

“Competition was good, but I am not too happy with my time. I have a cold so was not able to do my best,” said Desisa after the 21-km race.

The Ethiopian, who followed Kipsang for most part of the race told IANS, “I followed him since I have cold. The weather was very difficult this year, last year the conditions were better.”

Runner-up Kipsang was delighted with the new route the race took this year.

“The course was flat and smooth, faster than some of the major marathons around the world,” said the Kenyan.

Kenya was dominant in the women’s category with Sharon Cherop finishing four seconds behind Kabuu.

The two fought for the lead till the last kilometre. However, the 2006 Commonwealth champion, showed her class as she sped away from her compatriot to clinch the issue.

Defending champion Aselefech Mergia was the top Ethiopian as she came third in 01:07:21.

“We helped each other, while running we kept talking to each other. We broke away early because we wary of Mergia’s sprint,” said Kabuu on the partnership with Cherop.

The Kenyan who dedicated the victory to her family said: “I am happy for clocking my personal best, the race was very enjoyable. I was hoping to break the course, the course was flat, I wish next year I am invited again.”

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