Ethiopians sweep top honours in Delhi Half Marathon (Lead)

November 9th, 2008 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 9(IANS) Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga won the Airtel Delhi half marathon with the fastest time of the year of 59 minutes and 15 seconds here Sunday. Fellow-Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia won the women’s race, clocking, 60:08:17.Sandeep Kumar and Kavita Raut recorded the best timings among the Indians and pocketed $4,000 each.

It was an African sweep in the open event, with silver and bronze medals in the men’s category going to Kenyans Wilson Kipsang (59:16:0)and Wilson Chebet (59:34:0), receiving $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Ethiopian Gelet Getent (1:08:18) and Kenyan Peninah Arusei (1:08:20) finished second and third respectively among women.

Defending champion Rwanda’s Dieuone Disi, who came in 1:43:0 minutes in the 2007 edition, finished seventh here with 1:00:47.

Merga who recorded his personal best over the 21-km stretch, however, was given a stiff competition by Kipsang and Chebet, with all three recording 27:30:0 at 10km. It was at 19.5 km, when Merga broke away from the pack, clocking 54:10 as compared to Kipsang’s 54:12 and Chebet’s 54:15.

The competition was even fierce among women, with all the top three finishers at 1:02:24 at 19.5 km. It was indeed a close call for Mergia who won the event just by a second.

Both Merga and Mergia will take home $25,000 each with second and third placed runners in both the categories pocketing $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Among the Indians, Sandeep of Railways clocked 1:04:53. Kashi Nath (1:04:58) and Deep Chand (1:05:00) finished second and third, claiming $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Maharashtra’s Kavita clocked 1:17:12 took the honours among Indian women followed by Preethi Rau (1:17:20)of Karnataka and Sudha Singh (1:17:39) of Uttar Pradesh. The women too will win the same prize as their male counterparts.

Oldest runner in the open category was won by 76-year-old Ashish Roy clocked 2:48 minutes to finish his tenth half marathon bettering his last year’s timing by six minutes. Roy has also participated in 85 full marathons.

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