ADHM 2020: Avinash Sable breaks national half marathon record, first Indian to run it in less than 61 minutes

Avinash Sable, who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 3000m steeplechase event, became the first Indian to run a half marathon under sixty one minutes.

Sable finished the race way ahead of his Indian rivals Srinu Bugatha and Durga Bahadur Budha who finished second and third with timings of 1:04:16 and 1:04:19 respectively.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

With a reworked route and smoother corners, the 16th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon expectedly produced new champions and course records on Sunday with Ethiopians Amedework Walelegn and Yalemzerf Yehualaw claimed the men’s and women’s titles respectively.

Among the Indians, national 3000m steeplechase record holder Avinash Sable led the charge, finishing 10th overall in 1:00:30 -- the first time an Indian has run under 61 minutes over the distance and smashing the Indian half-marathon record by more than three minutes and the event record by more than four minutes.

It was a close finish in the men’s event with last year’s runner-up Walelegn edging past compatriot and two-time defending champion Andamlak Belihu by a second in a course record time of 58.53, the third fastest time of the year. The top-three, in fact, all bettered the course record of 59:06 with Ugandan Stephen Kissa finishing third in 58.56.

Among the elite women, Yehualaw surged ahead to win in a course record time of 1:04:46, bettering the earlier mark of 1:06:00 by compatriot and defending champion Tsehay Gemechu, who finished fifth. Yehualaw, who finished second last year and third at the 2020 World Championships, also set the second fastest women’s time ever over the distance in 64:46.

READ: Abhinav Bindra: Delhi Half Marathon an important step towards resuming sports in India

Sable’s record

The 26-year-old Sable, who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and has been rewriting the national 3000m steeplechase records over the past couple of years, had last participated in a half-marathon in 2018 here, finishing second. Lack of competition this year had forced him to enter the ADHM and his decision to run an aggressive race paid off.

“It’s great to break the national record. I have not competed in any tournament for a year and I have been only practicing so I wanted to compete in an event. Coming into the race, I wanted to stay as close as possible to international runners and I am happy I was able to do that," said Sable.

According to official Athletics Federation of India records, the previous national record (1:03:46) was set by Kalidas Hirave while defending champion Srinu Bugatha held the ADHM record with a timing of 1:04:33 last year. Bugatha came in second this time in 1:04:16 while Durga Bahadur Budha was third, clocking 1:04:19.

Among the women, Sable’s training partner Parul Chaudhary, second last year, won in 1:12:18 while Sanjivani Jadhav (1:13:00) and Komal Jagadale (1:14:04) were second and third.

Top results:

Overall men: Amdework Walelegn (Ethiopia, 00:58:53), Andamlak Belihu (Ethiopia, 00:58:54), Stephen Kissa (Uganda, 00:58:56); Overall top Women: Yalemzerf Yehualaw (Ethiopia, 01:04:46), Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya, 01:05:06), Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia, 01:05:21); Indian men: Avinash Sable (01:00:30), Srinu Bugatha (01:04:16), Durga Bahadur Budha (01:04:19); Indian women: Parul Chaudhary (01:12:18), Sanjivani Jadhav (01:13:00), Komal Jagdale (01:14:04).