Merga hopes to defend title next year

November 9th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

!– Imagr –New Delhi, Nov 9(IANS) Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga, who recorded the fastest time of the year winning the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon Sunday, said he is not surprised by his timing and would like to come back next year to defend his title.”I am very happy to win the marathon. I was expecting to set a new record here,” said Merga, who finished fourth in Beijing Olympics. He clocked 59:15 Sunday to set a new event record and lay claim on $25,000 prize money.

The 28-year-old was wary of the humidity at the capital but Sunday found the weather perfect. “The race track was good and assisted in fast run. The weather, too, was ideal.”

For fellow Aselefech Mergia, the winner in the women’s category, it was her patience that got her the rewards.

“There was a pain in my right leg. So, I was cautious at the start but picked up the pace later. I learnt about the course from the previous runners and I was very patient during my run,” said Mergia, who came second in the world half marathon at Rio De Janeiro.

“I am very excited to win $25,000 prize money, but I can’t say what I am going to do with it. At the moment, I would like to go back home and take rest to recuperate.”

Kavitha Raut, who topped among the Indian women, is now targeting 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“Preethi (first runners-up) and I were neck and neck but it was in the last 500 metres, I picked the pace. I improved my last year’s record. My next focus is Commonwealth Games, 2010.”

For the winner among Indian men, Sandeep Kumar, the victory was unexpected. “I knew I will be among top five Indians but I never expected to win,” said Sandeep whose main events are 5000m and 10,000m.

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