Amadevark Velelegan and Yalemjerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia won the men’s and women’s titles respectively with a record time at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon held between the Kovid-19 epidemic on Sunday. The marathon was conducted in a biologically safe environment. In the World Athletics Gold Label Road Race, both male and female elite race winners scored course records.
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Avinash Sabale, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics for India, made the national record with a time of 1:00:30. The 26-year-old Sabal Overall of Maharashtra finished 10th. He received an amount of Rs 3.5 lakh for the first place and was given an additional Rs 1 lakh for making a course record in Indians.
According to the official record of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), the former National Half Marathon record was named after Kalidas Hiraway of Maharashtra with a time of one hour three minutes 46 seconds. This year’s race record was however different from the previous two years’ record due to health protocols and the elite athlete epidemics ran in a different environment in which the organizers created a bio-secure zone for them.
In the men’s race, last year’s silver medalist Velelegan won the gold with a course record time of 58 minutes 53 seconds, beating compatriot and defending champion Andamalak Beliu in a thrilling contest. Velelegan won a bronze medal at the World Half Marathon Championships last month. Belihu won the title here in 2018 and 2019. He had to settle for a silver medal with a time of 58.54. Uganda’s Stephen Kissa completed the 21.09 km race in 58 minutes 56 seconds.
The 21-year-old Wellegan outperformed the previous course record of 59 minutes and six seconds after his compatriot Guy Adola, who made it in 2014. Sable, who qualified for 3000 steeplechases at the Tokyo Olympics, took an hour and 30 seconds. This is the first time an Indian has taken less than 61 minutes in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
Srinu Bugatha finished second among Indians this year taking a time of 1:04:16 while Durga Bahadur Buddha finished third with a time of 1:04:19. In the Star Equipped Women’s Elite Race, Yehulaw won the race with a course record time of one hour, four minutes 46 seconds and outperformed compatriot and defending champion Sehye Gamechu by 1:06:00, while this time Gemechu did not finish the podium.
Kenya’s Ruth Chepangetich (1:05:06) finished second and another Ethiopian and World Half Marathon record holder, Ababel Yesaneh (1:05:21), finished third. Like Velelegan, the in-form Jehuallau finished second here last year and finished third in the World Half Marathon last month.
Among the Indians, Parul Chaudhary won the gold medal with a time of 1 hour 12 minutes 18 seconds, she finished second last year. Sanjeevani Jadhav (1:13:00) and Komal Jagdale (1:14:04) finished second and third respectively. The Delhi Half Marathon is the first global sports event in India amid Corona epidemic for which Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju and Olympic gold medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra were present.