Ethiopians rule at Mumbai marathon
Mumbai, Jan 16 (IANS) Among the thousands who hit the streets for the Mumbai marathon Sunday, Ethiopians dominated the show, with Koren Yal winning the 42-km full run among women and Girima Assefa reaching the finish line first in the men’s category.
B.C. Tilak of India won the 21-km half marathon, reaching the finish line in a record time of one hour and four minutes.
Over 38,000 people early Sunday gathered at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus here to participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011 as Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan flagged it off amid tight security.
Yal, 23, who completed the run in under 2.5 hours, came into limelight in 2006 when she won the National Ethiopian Championships in the 3,000 m run.
Since then she has been a member of three World Cross Country teams and placed second at the National Cross Country Championships in 2008. At her marathon debut in Venice in 2009, Yal finished second.
Assefa reached the finish line in two hours, nine minutes and 57 seconds.
Born in Shoa province of Ethiopia, Assefa first participated in a 20-km run in Paris in 2003 and has participated in more than 30 such runs and marathons since then.
Yal is also from the Shoa province of Ethiopia.
While the full marathon saw participation by 2,800 people, 11,000 people ran in the half marathon.
The Mumbai Marathon 2011 attracted some of the world’s best male and female elite athletes like John Kelai from Kenya who specialises in the marathon.
He set his personal best (2:09:09) in the men’s marathon race in the 2005 edition of the Eindhoven Marathon, where he was fourth. He had consecutive wins at the Mumbai Marathon in 2007-2008.
Ethiopia’s Bizunesh Urgesa was also a strong contender at the marathon this year, leading a strong bunch of women athletes.
Among noteworthy Kenyan men to compete in Mumbai are Evans Rutto and Justus Kipshirchir.
Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Tola, Qatar’s Mubarak Shami and Russia’s Oleg Kulkov also participated in the event.