Wrong winner felicitated at Mumbai Marathon before mistake corrected

January 18th, 2009 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Jan 18 (IANS) In an embarrassing moment, the organizers of the VIth Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2009 mistakenly declared and felicitated a wrong person as the winner in the Indian women’s category in the 42-km Main Marathon here Sunday afternoon.Even as the ‘wrong’ person basked in glory on the specially erected podium, the right winner, Aruna Devi, from the north-eastern state of Manipur stepped forward and staked her claim to the title.

Upon verification, the organizers found her claim to be genuine, said a spokesman for Procam International, the promoters of the event.

“We apologized to her for the mistake. It should never have happened in the first place and it was entirely an error on our part,” the spokesman told IANS after the matter was duly rectified.

Immediately, Aruna Devi’s name was publicly announced as the real winner and she was felicitated in a separate ceremony and handed over the prize money - US$2,500 (Rs.100,000)

The spokesman said Aruna Devi took the faux-pas by the organisers in a sporting spirit and the matter ended amicably.

Leading Mumbaikars in the run included many celebrities like Anil Ambani, Soha Ali Khan, Gulshan Grover, Milind Soman, Arjun Rampal, Vinay Pathak, Shreyas Talpade, Rahul Bose, Om Puri, Tara Sharma, Lillete Dubey, Dolly Thakore, Anand Mahindra, Amit Chandra, Archana Chandra, Sanjeev Kapoor and Annabelle Mehta, to name a few.

The event brand ambassadors were Bollywood hunk John Abraham, three-time Olympic champions Gabriela Szabo and Gail Devers, and famous Moroccan long distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj, the spokesman said.

The Mumbai Police and Traffic Police, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), the state government, Indian Navy and other agencies were actively involved to make the event safe and successful.

Apart from the main title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank, the associate sponsor was Tata Consultancy Services. The event was held under the aegis of the Athletics Federation of India with technical coordination by Maharashtra Athletic Association and promoted by Procam International.

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