The hot weather and high humidity put paid to the record-setting
aspirations of the elite athlete field, but it did not deter Kenyan Edwin
Kipyego and Ethiopian Yimer Wude from coming up with strong, front-running
performances to clinch the overall men’s and women’s titles in the IAAF
Gold Label Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, 2012 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Kipyego beat back a strong challenge from his countryman Leonard Langat,
winning the final sprint surge to win in 60.55 minutes. Langat clocked
61.07, while Silas Kipruto followed home in 61.57 to complete a Kenyan
clean sweep. Finishing fourth was another Kenyan, Titus Mbieshi, winner of
the World 10K Bangalore, who was making his half marathon debut here and
The high-profile Ethiopian duo of defending champion Lelisa Desisa and this
year’s fastest athlete, Atsedu Tsegay wilted in the heat, with Desisa
finishing a disappointing seventh in 62.50 and Atsedu Tsegay finishing out
of the top 20.
Yimer won the women’s title in 61.10 and was followed home by her country
women Waganesh Amare, who clocked 71.12 and Kenyan Helah Kiprop, who timed
71.18. Both the winner’s went home richer by USD 25,000. Namibian Helalia
Johannes, who had a 12th place finish in the London Olympics Marathon, had
to contend with fifth place, coming home in 71.43.
The Indian performances too were encouraging, with Rahul Kumar Pal
breasting the tape in 66.12, winning the Indian category and finishing
Nitender Singh followed him home two seconds later, while Indrajeet Singh
sprinted home to finish one second later in 66.15.
Sudha Singh emerged the fastest Indian woman in 79.34, while former double
winner Kavita Raur came in second.
A total of 31,746 runners participated in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon
2012, which offered total prize money of USD 210,000.
Kipyego took the lead at the 11 km mark and though not confident of
winning, thanks to the strong field, pushed a bit harder to see if they
would respond. When the other continued to lag behind, Kipyego kept up his
brave front running to win with his personal best.
“The weather was good at the start but later on it became humid. I tried
my best but could not set any record. But I am very happy with the results,
because I hadn’t expected to win,” said Kipyego at the post-match press
conference at the media centre at J N Stadium. It was only after the 18 km
mark that Kipyego realized he has beaten the field for good and pushed hard
for the podium finish.
Yimer, who won the bronze medal in 10,000 metres at the 2009 World
Championships and took the silver in the 2011 All-Africa Games, was pushed
hard by Waganesh and Helahand it was a sprint finish that saw her winning.
“It was a great run for me. It was a very hot and humid day but we ran
together till the finishing line. In the last few metres, I decided to push
to win the race,” Yimer stated and added: “I am very happy today, it was an
unbelievable result for me.”
“I knew that the competition will be tough and weather will be humid. I
started my training two weeks ago, which was not enough. But my experience
in recently concluded Open National Athletic Championship helped to finish
first,” said Indian winner Rahul, who is a middle-distance athlete.
Rahul will continue his training in 5000m and 10,000m as half-marathon is
not in his mind. “I am happy to win this marathon, but middle-distance
running is my aim,” he stated.
In women’s section, 2010 Asian gold medallist Sudha Singh stole the show
from two-time ADHM champion Kavita Raut and defending champion Lalita
Babar. “I didn’t have good practice before this marathon and I was also bit
upset after the 2012 London Olympic qualifiers. But this result has given
me some relief and joy,” she added.
The leading women were running together till 12km, after which they pushed
hard for the podium finish. One of the main contenders, World 10K Bangalore
2012 winner Monika Athare suffered a cramp in the middle of the route, due
to that she could not complete the race.
As usual the race witnessed the participation of a large number of
enthusiasts and celebrities. A host of dignitaries led by Delhi Chief
Minister Sheila Dixit and event ambassador David Rudisha, besides Bipasha
Basu, Madhur Bhandarkar, Sanjay Kappor (CEO Bharti Airtel, India & South
Asia) and Bharat Bambawale (Global Brand Director Bharati Airtel) were
present to cheer on the participants. Tarun Tahliani, Hasleen Kaur, Rahul
Bose and Gul Panag were among the celebrities who cheered on the