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African flavour dominates Mumbai Marathon again

Last updated on: January 15, 2012 20:34 IST

Kenya's Laban Moiben takes honours at Mumbai Marathon

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Kenya's Laban Moiben and Ethiopian Netsanet Abeyo bagged the top honours in contrasting fashion in the men's and women's categories at the 9th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on Sunday even as India's Ram Singh Yadav qualified for the London Olympics.

Moiben overcame a late challenge from Ethiopia's Raji Assefa to surge ahead in a close finish. Both athletes completed the 42.195 km race in 2:10:48 with the Kenyan winning in a sprint finish. Kenya's John Kyui clocked 2:10:54 to take the third place.


Image: Kenya's Laban Moiben crosses the finish line at the Mumbai Marathon on Sunday


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Abeyo sets new course record

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Abeyo (2:26:12) set a new course record for women, beating the mark set by last year's winner and compatriot, Koren Yal, who had clocked 2:26:56. She was followed by fellow country mates Fatuma Sado (2:30:20) and Makda Harun (2:30:47) as they completed an all-Ethiopian sweep.

The top winners in the two categories were awarded $36,000 each for their achievements at the marathon, which this year, too, was dominated by Africans.


Image: A jubilant Netsanet Abeyo of Ethiopian on crossing the finish line


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India's Yadav books Olympics berth

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Among the Indians, veteran long distance runner Ram Singh Yadav booked his berth for the London Olympics by clocking 2:16:59, while Lalitha Babbar was the top-ranked woman from the country, finishing in 2:53:35. Both of them earned a prize money of $7,500 each for their efforts.

Yadav, an Armyman who held the course record for the Indians here -- 2:18:03 set in 2009 -- finally realised his potential as he completed the race in 2:16:59 to achieve the qualifying mark set for this year's London Games by dipping more than a minute under the `B' standard.

His strong run fetched him 12 position overall, with a total of five Indians finishing in the top 20.


Image: Ram Singh Yadav


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'I started pushing for victory after the 28km mark'

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The 29-year-old Moiben, winner of the Ottawa Marathon last year and having a personal best of 2:09:44, set at the same place in 2009, surged ahead at the 30km stretch and held the lead throughout.

Tanzania's Dickson Marwa and Simon Kasimili were the initial pace setters as they exchanged the lead position during the first 15km stretch.

However, after the initial surge, Marwa fell behind and it was here that Kyui and Moiben began their domination.

Assefa made a spirited effort at the last stretch and gave Moiben a run for his money before losing in a sprint finish.

"It was a tactical race. It was very tough. I started pushing for victory after the 28km mark," the Kenyan said.


Image: The men's elite atheletes in action at the Mumbai Marathon on Sunday
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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'After 25km I really felt confident about winning the race'

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Moiben said despite running his first marathon in Asia, he was very comfortable with the weather conditions.

"I was comfortable with the weather conditions. The weather was good. I was well prepared," he added.

"This is my third 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 25km I really felt confident about winning the race," said Abeyo.

Several top international athletes were among the 2,475 participants at the IAAF Gold Label status event, offering an enhanced prize money of $3,40,000.

While the men's field had 17 Gold Label athletes, with personal bests of below 2 hours and 10 minutes, the women's event had seven such athletes, with personal bests of below 2:30.

Image: Athletes race close at the Mumbai Marathon
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
Tags: Moiben , IAAF , Abeyo , Asia

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Elam Singh, Lyngkhoi Binning and Karan Singh finished in top 20

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Elam Singh (2:18:27), who narrowly missed the qualification and was placed 15th overall, was followed by T A Rajesh (2:24:25). Lyngkhoi Binning (18th) and Karan Singh (20th) were the other Indians to finish in the top 20.

In the Indian women's category, Lalita Babbar, who had switched to the full marathon for the first time, completed the race in 2:53:35 hours to be placed 16th overall.

Kiran Tiwari (2:53:56) and Preethi Rao (3:01:34), 17th and 19th overall respectively, finished second and third.

Image: Indian athletes in action
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Unity was a theme at the dream run

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Soji Matthew (1:05:29) and Priyanka Singh Patel (1:21:55) clinched the half-marathon titles in the male and female categories.

Ashish Singh (1:05:31) and Man Singh (1:06:27) were second and third in the men's category, while Vijaya Mala Patil (1:22:25) and Supriya Patil finished runners up in the women's group.

The other attractions at the marathon were the citizens coming out in large numbers spreading the message of unity and peace at the Dream Run.


Image: Participants take the unity in diversity theme on to the roads during the Mumbai Marathon on Sunday
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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