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Kirui, Yingjie emerge winners

By Biju Babu Cyriac
Last updated on: October 03, 2004 17:10 IST
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More fancied racers were relegated to secondary positions as Paul Kirui of Kenya and Yingjie Sun of China won the men's and women's titles respectively in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in New Delhi on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Kirui gave the Sunday crowd a treat of a lifetime as he outran title favourite and last year's silver medallist Joseph Fabiano of Tanzania to win the coveted title.

Sun, the 27-year-old from China, came up with a stunning show to take the women's gold which was expected to be clinched by Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland, who failed to live up to her top billing by finishing fourth.

The Chinese came up with a national record to take the top honors with a timing of 1 hour 08 min 40 sec. Kenya's Lydia Cheromei took the second spot clocking 1:09:00, her personal best, while Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita came third in 1:09.07.

Title favourite Sonia O'Sullivan finished the race in 1:10.33.

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Kirui clocked 1 hour 02 min and 15 sec to take the top spot ahead of Fabiano (1:02.31) and Ahmad Abdullah Hassan of Qatar (1:02.36). Hassan is the current Asian record holder in 5,000m and 10,000m.

Among the Indians, Ram Bahadur Subba was the best performer finishing 59th with a timing of 1:10.33. Mukesh Kumar Yadav (1:11.53) came 65th, Ajit Singh 66th (1:12.05) and Raj Kumar 69th clocking 1:12.12.

In the team standings, Kirui's effort, alongwith some fine run by John Cheruiyot Korir and Wilson Kiprotich propelled Kenya to the top spot.

Kenya (3:07.55) came ahead of Ethiopia (3:08.37) and Uganda (3:13.48).

Korir's fourth place finish came in 1:02.38 while Kiprotich returned a timing of 1:03.02 to emerge sixth.

Ethiopia came second after Solomon Tsige (1:02.42) finished sixth, Alene Emere (1:02.52) seventh and Berhanu Addane ninth (1:03.03).

Wilson Busienei (7th place in 1:02.55), Martin Toroitich (13th in 1:04.48) and Joseph Nsubuga (27th in 1:06.05) gave Uganda the third place in the team standings.

Earlier the prestigious event, being held for the first time in Asia, was declared open by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Also present on the occasion were Sports Minister Sunil Dutt, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, International Association of Athletics Federation President Lamine Diack and Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi.

Men: 1. Paul Kirui (KEN) 1:02.15, 2. Fabiano Joseph (TAN) 1:02.31, 3. Ahmad Abdullah Hassan (QAT) 1:02.36, 4. John Cheruiyot Korir (KEN) 1:02.38, 5. Solomon Tsige (ETH) 1:02.42.
Team: 1. Kenya, 2. Ethiopia, 3. Uganda.

Women: 1. Yingjie Sun (CHN) 1:08.40, 2. Lydia Cheromei (KEN) 1:09.00, 3. Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROM) 1:09.07, 4. Sonia O'Sullivan (IRL) 1:10.33, 5. Yuki Saito (JPN) 1:11.05.
Team: 1. Ethiopia, 2. Romania, 3. Russia.

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