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Gopi, Kheta Ram clock personal bests in marathon

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 22, 2016 02:25 IST
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IMAGE: Athletes compete in the men's marathon on Day 16 of the Rio Games. Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The Indian duo of Thanackal Gopi and Kheta Ram put up an inspired show and clock their personal best timings to finish 25th and 26th respectively in the men's marathon at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.

Gopi registered his personal best timing of 2:15:25 seconds, while Ram was just a second behind him, clocking 2:15:26s.

However, India's more accomplished marathoner Nitendra Singh Rawat disappointed, finishing a poor 84th in 2:22:52s, way below his personal best timing of 2:15:18s, registered at the South Asian Games in Guwahati earlier this year.

The Army trio were the last competitors in the fray after London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt made a first round exit in wrestling.

India, thus, concluded their campaign with a just two medals – P V Sindhu's silver in women's badminton singles and Sakshi Malik's bronze in women’s wrestling.

Gopi, a 28-year-old Kerala lad who had largely remained under the shadows of Rawat and Kheta Ram, ran the race of his career, improving from 70th at 10km mark to 55th at half-way before finishing with a personal best timing.

Introduced to the arduous 42.195km format in the Mumbai Marathon earlier this year where he was brought in to set the pace for Rawat, Gopi had finished behind his Army colleague with a personal best of 2:15:15s, second among Indians and 11th overall.

He along with his colleague Kheta Ram brilliantly set the pace as the 29-year-old finished just a second behind to grab 26th place, which also was better than his previous best of 2:17:23s registered in the Mumbai Marathon.

The 29-year-old Rawat, however, struggled along the way, unable to cope with the pace and he kept on slipping from 77th at the 5km mark to 82nd at 40km before crossing the finish line in 84th position.

Rawat was the first to bag the Rio quota in 2015 in his first competitive marathon at the World Military Games in Korea, where he clocked 2:18:06s, which was then an all-time ninth best timing by an Indian.

The Uttarkahand lad improved his timing to 2:15.48s in the Mumbai Marathon this year and clocked his personal best of 2:15:18s at the South Asian Games in Guwahati earlier this year.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge clinched the gold with a timing of 2:08:44s while the silver and bronze went to Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa (2:09:54s) and United States' Galen Rupp (2:10:05s) who also clocked his personal best time while running on rain-drenched roads.

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