Kenyan Moiben, Ethiopian Netsanet emerge overall champs
It was great day for Indian long distance running on Sunday, as former three-time champion Ram Singh Yadav clocked a life time personal best of 2:16:58 to make the qualifying 'B' Standard for the London Olympics and set a new Indian course record while winning the race for Indians in the 9th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, 2012.
The super fast elite athlete field for men and women also came up with strong performances in the IAAF Gold label event, with the women breaking the existing course record and the men finishing just outside of it, albeit in a sprint finish.
Kenyan Laban Moiben won the men's event in 2:10:48, breasting the tape a fraction of a second ahead of Ethiopian Raji Assefa after a sprint finish, while the third place went to Kenyan John Kyui, who stopped the clock at Ethiopian Netsanet Abeyo ran a strong and aggressive race to leave the field far behind, winning in 2:26:12, a new course record, and also led an Ethiopian clean sweep. Netsanet finished more than four minutes ahead of second placed Fatuma Sado (2:30:20), while another pre-event favourite Makda Harun came in third at 2:30:47. Netsanet's effort broke the course record of 2:26:56, set by her country mate Koren Yal in 2011. It was Netsanet's seventh appearance at this event and her joy at having won was displayed with small jig after she crossed the finish line. "This is my 7th Mumbai marathon and I am happy to clock my personal best and set a new course record. Although my practice time was short, I had worked hard for it. After 25kms I really felt confident about winning the race," said the champion who will also take home USD 36,000.
The Indian women also came up with an improved performance, with Lalita Babbar a debutant at this distance coming home in 2:53:35, with Kiran Tiwari taking second position (2:53:56) and Preeti L Rao third (3:01:34). Ram Singh Yadav, who had trained hard for this event with the sole intention of qualifying for the Olympics ran aggressively from the beginning taking with him Karan Singh and Elam Singh. While they could not keep up with the lead pack of the Kenyans and Ethiopians, Ram Singh placed himself within sighting distance of the leaders and kept running fluidly. Though he flagged a bit in the middle, he picked up again in the final kilometers to finish strongly. While Karan Singh fell back after the 30 km mark, Elam Singh continued gamely and finished in 2:18:27, missing the qualifying mark by 27 seconds.
Ram Singh's strong run fetched him 12 position overall, with a total of five Indians finishing in the top 20. Elam Singh placed overall 15th, with Rajesh TA (15th), Lyngkhoi Binning (18th) and Karan Singh (20th) the other four athletes to finish in the top 20.
"Shivnath Singh's Indian record (2:12:00) is my aim, so there is a lot of work to be done. I am happy to have cleared the Olympic qualification and more so since I achieved it on my own steam," said Yadav.
Moiben, from Eldama Ravine in Kenya's famous Rift Valley, still had gas left in his tank at the finish. "I felt strong when I saw the incline on the return stretch. I train on a hilly course back home, so ran confidently from then on," said the 2012 men's champion. Earlier in the race around the 28km mark, he got the jitters seeing a pack of Ethiopians around him. "There were too many Ethiopians around, so I panicked and pushed a bit ahead, then returned to the pack."
Raji Assefa matched strides with his arch rival and positioned himself within range of a finishing kick. Laban beat him back with a powerful burst, though not fast enough to better the course record (2:09:54). The former clocked the same time as the winner 2:10:48 and gets USD 25,000 for second spot. Kenyan John Kyui (2:10:54) was third.
The half marathon saw Shoji Mathew improving on his last year's second place finish to take the top honours in 1:05:29, while the half marathon for women was won by Priyanka Singh Patel in a time of 1:21:55.
Following are the results: (Finals)
(Overall Results Men): Laban Moiben (KEN) 2:10:48; Raji Assefa (ETH) 2:10:48; John Kyul (KEN) 2:10:54.
(Overall Results Women): Netsanet Abeyo (ETH) 2:26:12; Fatuma Sado (ETH) 2:30:20; Makda Harun (ETH) 2:30:47.
(Indian Overall Results Men):Ram Singh Yadav (IND) 2:16:59; Elam Singh (IND) 2:18:27; Rajesh T A (IND) 2:24:25.
(Indian Overall Results Women): Lalita Babbar (IND) 2:53:35; Kiran Tiwari (IND) 2:53:56; Preethi L Rao (IND) 3:01:34.
Half Marathon (Men): Soji Maathew (IND) 1:05:29; Ashish Singh (IND) 1:05:31; Man Singh (IND) 1:06:27.
Half Marathon (Women): Priyanka Singh Patel (IND) 1:21:55; Vijay Mala Patil (IND) 1:22:25; Supriya Patil (IND) 1:23:15.
Marathon Open (Men): Tanaji Nalvade (IND) 2.46.31; Manoj Mhatre (IND) 2:51:42; Samir Singh (IND) 2:54:50; Jhillu Null (IND) 2:57:55; Henrik Westerlin (DEN) 2:59:34.
Marathon Open (Women): Andrea Stadler (GBR) 3:29:41; Elizabeth Chapman (GBR) 3.41.01; Ankita Mittal (IND) 3.42.06; Neera Katwal (IND) 3.49.52; Vidhita Chainani (IND) 3.58.41.
Marathon Super Veteran (Men): Wilhelm Wagner (NED) 4:15:43; Eger Robert (SUI) 4:23:54; Wilfried Fischer (GER) 4:24:15.
Marathon Super Veteran (Women): Brigitta Biermanski (GER) 4:35:51; Rachel Chatterjee (IND) 5:01:18; Sigrid Eichner (NED) 5:29:17.
Marathon Senior Veteran (Men): S J Yadav (IND) 3:25:08; Piyush Gudka (GBR) 3:51:05; Ram Autar Rajbhar (IND) 3:56:07.
Marathon Senior Veteran (Women): Mala Honnatti (IND) 4:50:01; Radha Krishnaswamy (IND) 5:13:35.
Marathon Veteran (Men): Gary Lew (USA) 3:03:18; Ashok Nath (IND) 3:11:42; Jaquen Jean Benoit (FRA) 3:14:49.
Marathon Veteran (Women): Augusto Battaglia (ITA) 3:16:22; TITE Togni (ITA) 3:45:14; Leelamma Alphonso (IND) 4:03:23.
Kingfisher Mast Mumbaikar (For Individual):Best Individual Costume (1st Prize Rs.30,000/- Corruption Kolaveri D) (2nd Prize Rs. 20,000/- Osama). (3rd Prize Rs.10,000/- Manmohan).
Kingfisher Bindaas Bande (Best Costume Theme for Groups): 1st Prize: Rs.50,000/- Shrimad Raichand Group theme: Love & Care). 2nd Prize: Rs.30,000/- Tie (Giants Island & Light of Life).
Kingfisher Green Crusader: Best Individual in Eco-Friendly Costume-1st prize: Rs.20,000/- (Sharadha Theme:Paper Bride); 2nd prize: Rs.10,000/- (Tree).