Airtel Delhi Half Marathon: Belihu, Gemechu defend titles

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was present to flag off the Marathon and cheer the runners.

Andamlak Belihu defended his Airtel Delhi Half Marathon with a win this year too, with a provisional timing of 59.10   -  Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

Ethiopia's Tsehay Gemechu and Andamlak Belihu defended their titles at the 15th Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday. Gemechu had claimed two days ago,"I think another course record is a possibility," a claim she went on to validate, breaking her own record by 50 seconds.

Ethiopia’s Belihu clocked a timing of 59:10 to defend his title at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, while Gemechu broke her event record and also produced her personal best with an impressive 66:00.

Belihu, who had won the prestigious IAAF Gold Label Race last year with a time of 59 minute 18 seconds, finished ahead of fellow Ethopian Solomon Berihu, who clocked 59:17.

Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie finished third with a timing of 59:33.



Belihu missed the course record by four seconds, which was set by Ethiopia’s Guye Adola (59.06), in the 2014 edition, ending the race on a bittersweet note.

"At about 18km I started to suffer some back pain, that possibly cost me the course record,” said the champion who recorded his personal best.

At one point debutant Solomon Berihu threatened to cause an upset. Belihu sped up at 57:25 and overtook Solomon Berihu to remain in the lead till the end. Belihu promised to come back next year to break the course record and become the first man or a woman to win hat-trick of ADHM titles.

Gemechu, meanwhile, set a new record of 66 minutes on a perfect day with zero wind and clear visibility.

The other runners started to detach as Gemechu and Yehualaw as they went past 15 km in 47:05. Gemechu accelerated in the last 200 m to become only the second woman to defend her title in Delhi. "I was tired after Doha (where she finished fourth in the World Championships 5000m) but I wanted to fight for the course record here,” reflected Gemechu.

In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Yelamzerf Yehualaw clocked 1:06:01 to grab the second place, while zeineba yimer clocked 1:06:57 for the third place.

In the Indian elite women’s category, Loganathan Suriya topped the podium(1:12:49), followed by Parul Chaudhary (1:13:55) and Chinta Yadav (1:15:28).

Suriya said," I had a great time running this year's half marathon in Delhi."

Srinu Bugatha, winner of 2019 Tata Mumbai half marathon, emerged victorious in the Indian elite men's category with a timing of 1:04:33. "I tried very hard to beat my best timing, but unfortunately I couldn't. Because I broke away from the rest of the runners and took a lead early on in the race, I couldn't record a better timing," Bugatha said.



RESULTS:

International Men: 
Andamlak Belihu (ETH) 00:59:10; Solomon Berihu (ETH) 00:59:17; Kibiwott Kandie (KEN); 00:59:33.

International women:

Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 01:06:00; Yelamzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 01:06:01;  Zeineba Yimer (ETH) 01:06:57.

Indian Men:

Srinu Bughatha (IND) 01:04:33; Suresh Patel (IND) 01:04:57; Harshad Mhatre (IND) 01:05:12.

Indian Women:

Suriya Loganathan (IND) 01:12:49; Parul chaudhary (IND) 01:13:55; Chinta Yadav (IND) 01:15:28.