Delhi Half Marathon: Defending champion Andamlak Belihu sets sights on beating course record

Again a favourite to win the Delhi Half Marathon, defending champion Andamlak Belihu is confident he can beat the course record this time.

Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, who won the Delhi Half Marathon last year, is the favourite to win the event again.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu will look for a repeat of his run to the Delhi Half Marathon title last year, but he has set his sights on going one better and beating the course record.

The men's defending champion, Belihu is well-prepared and believes he can beat the course record here on Sunday. Belihu claims he has gained a lot of experience from his last two outings in Delhi.

He is in fine form as he finished fifth in the 10,000m in Doha World Championships. “It was a little frustrating just missing out on the course record of 59:06 last year but after coming here and doing well in Delhi in the last two years, I have the experience. I know what it takes to go faster. The most important thing is to win but if the pace is good, I can beat the course record,” said the 20-year-old.

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Tsehay Gemechu, the women's defending champion, took the African Games 10,000m title this year. She set the ADHM course record of 66:50 on her debut in 2018. “Last year, I didn’t know much about running in this level of race, but I have had a lot more experience since then,” said Gemechu. “I think another course record here is a possibility.”

Suresh Kumar Patel, Srinu Bugatha, Pradeep Chaudhary, Loganathan Suriya, Parul Chaudhary and Priti Lamba will be looking to improve their respective timings in the ADHM.

L. Suriya, the course-record-holder in 2017, is hoping to shine. "The route here is very nice. In 2017, I really enjoyed the run as the weather was also good. Therefore, I put up a good performance that year. I am looking forward to another great experience," said the 29-year-old.

Bugatha, who started running in 2010, felt that everyone is a tough competitor, especially Suresh Kumar Patel and Pradeep Chaudhary, “I have come with the target of setting my best time and will try to break the course record,” he said.

The 2019 London Diamond League champion in 5000m, Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet will be a fierce competitor on his debut after having to withdraw last year due to illness. This will be his first long distance run. “I am excited to make my debut at the half marathon. Andamlak has told me about this race and so I know that it is a very fast course,” he said.