Israel's Lonah to be star attraction at TSK 25K

Israel's Lonah Salpeter is currently sixth on the marathon world list and third on the European all-time list.

Top athletes will be seen in action in the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, a World Athletics Silver Label road race, in Kolkata on December 15.   -  AP (Representative image)

Reigning women’s 10,000m European champion Lonah Salpeter of Israel will be one of the top athletes to be seen in action in the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, a World Athletics Silver Label road race, here on December 15.

Kenyan born Lonah, who migrated to Israel in 2008 to take up job before settling down there, is changing her focus to road races.

She won the Prague marathon in May with a stunning national record of 2:19:46, including her 25k split of 1:23:25.

Lonah, who will celebrate her 31st birthday three days prior to the Kolkata race, is currently sixth on the marathon world list and third on the European all-time list.

Lonah, who dropped out of the marathon in the World athletics championships in Doha earlier this year, recovered in quick time to win the Frankfurt marathon last month with a timing of 2:23:11.

The Israeli can pose serious challenge to Ethiopian Degitu Azimeraw’s TSK course record of 1:26:01, set in 2017.

Tanzania’s Failuna Matanga, who finished third in the last two years here, and Ethiopian Birke Debele and Guteni Shone, who have won important races such as Riga Marathon and Sevilla Marathon respectively this year, will also be among the elite runners.

Kenenisa Bekele’s course record of 1:13:48, set two years ago, will be a target for everyone in the men’s section.

Two-time World cross country silver medallist Leonard Barsoton of Kenya and 10,000m London Olympics bronze medallist Tariku Bekele, Kenenisa’s brother, will be among the elite men runners.

Previous podium finishers Eritrea’s Tsegay Tuemay and Ethiopia’s Bayelign Yegsaw will return to Kolkata.

Expected leading runners:

Men: Leonard Barsoton (Ken), Solomon Deksisa (Eth), Tariku Bekele (Eth), Bayelign Yegsaw (Eth), Daniel Chebii (Ken), Betesfa Getahun (Eth), Tsegay Tuemay (Eri), Ben Somikwo (Uga), Desmond Mokgobu (RSA), Faraja Damasi (Tan).

Women: Lonah Salpeter (Isr), Birke Debele (Eth), Failuna Matanga (Tan), Tejitu Daba (Brn), Guteni Shone (Eth), Nazret Weldu (Eri), Chaltu Kekabo (Eth), Magdalena Shauri (Tan).