Varanasi villager defeats Olympian in Chennai half-marathon

September 1st, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 1 (IANS) A local villager, belonging to a poor farmer’s family of Varanasi, won the Chennai half marathon in Chennai.Santosh Kumar, 24, a native of the Siyon Village, defeated Olympian Surendra Singh Sunday in a photo finish and won a cash reward of Rs.10 Lakh (Rs.One million) in the Marg Givelife Chennai Marathon of 21.09 km.

He finished in 1 hour 4.03 minutes.

Santosh’s village has also produced the likes of Arjuna awardee Gulab Chand. Santosh told IANS that it was after watching Chand for years that he took up athletics.

His father, Pancham Patel, is a poor farmer and has a big family. “I will buy agricultural land with the money I have won and will assist my father in all possible manner in agriculture,” Santosh told IANS.

“Before the race, I was scared of Surendra, who has just returned after participating in the Beijing Olympics. However, my coach, J.S. Bhatia, encouraged me and I was able to defeat Surendra by a neck-and-neck margin of 0.02 seconds,” Santosh added.

Earlier this year, Santosh also won the Chandigarh Marathon and is at present the national champion.

Santosh took his training in the centre for excellence training in the SAI locality of Lucknow and was attending a training camp in Bangalore before the marathon.

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