Solomon Deksisa and Amane Gobena made it a double delight for Ethiopia in the $405,000 Tata Mumbai Marathon on Sunday by clinching the respective men’s and women’s races.
Twenty-two-year-old Deksisa broke away from the rest of the field at the 35-km mark and kept his nose ahead for the reminder of the 42.195-km men’s event to lead a 1-2 finish for Ethiopia ahead of 29-year-old compatriot Shumet Akalnaw. Deksisa clocked 2 hours, 9 minutes, 34 secs, off the
course record of 2:08:35, while his compatriot Shumet crossed the finish line in 2:10:00 after being in hot pursuit of the lead runner over the last seven kms without being able to catch up.
Kenyan Joshua Kipkorir, second last year, ended up third this year in 2:10:30. Gobena made the women’s race her own to win by a comfortable margin and won in 2:25:49 ahead of defending champion Bornes Kitur of Kenya who clocked 2:28:48 with male pacer Bernard Soi of South Africa helping her maintain her speed. In third place was another Ethiopian, Shumo Genemo (2:29:41). The overall winners of both full marathons earned $42,000 each.
Deksisa, running his sixth marathon with a personal best of 2:06:22 that he had clocked while finishing second in the Rooterdam Marathon in April 2016, breasted the tape 70 metres ahead of second-placed compatriot Shumet, accelerating after the turn into the Marine Drive straight at Chowpatty.
“I expected to win. This is my first win in Mumbai and will motivate me to participate in other races,” said Deksisa. “Shumet was behind me and was close and I was worried. So I did not realise about the turns in the last 700m (following a small change in course due to metro construction work). When the pacemakers dropped out the plan was to come ahead (of the rest),” he added.
Indian men racers Gopi Thonakal, the winner of the Asian marathon title in November last in China, and his army rival Nitendra Singh Rawat, the course record holder among the home country participants, finished just outside the top ten in 11th and 12th places, respectively. Gopi, who was second to Rawat among Indians in 2016 in the run-up to the Rio Olympics for which both were later selected, was timed at 2:16:51 and nosed ahead of arch-rival Rawat who clocked 2:16:54 in the last stretch. Srinu Bugatha was the third-best Indian male finisher much farther down in 2:23:56.
Rawat said it became warmer midway through the race and he was cramping a bit too. “It was a bit warm halfway through the race and I was
getting cramps too,” he said.
The corresponding top three Indian women finishers were Sudha Singh, in a slow 2:48:32, Jyoti Gawte (2:50:47) and Parul Chowdhary (2:50:47).
Pradeep Singh won the men’s half marathon in 1:05:42 in slightly humid conditions.
“I am basically a track and field athlete and usually run the cross country and I prepare at the Army Sports Institute in Pune,” said Singh, who hails from Uttarakhand. Shankar Man Thapa and Deepak Kumbhar took the second and third places.
In the women’s half marathon, Sanjeevani Jadhav came in first in 1:26:24, followed by Monika Athare who clocked 1:27:15. In third place was Juma Khatun who clocked 1:27:48.
Men (Overall): 1. Solomon Deksisa (Eth) 2:09:34, 2. Shumet Akalnaw (Eth) 2:10:00, 3. Joshua Kipkorir (Ken) 2:10:30
Indians: 1. Gopi Thonakal 2:16:51, 2. Nitendra Singh Rawat 2:16:54, 3. Srinu Bugatha 2:23:56.
Women (Overall): 1. Amane Gobena (Eth) 2:24:49; 2. Bornes Kitur (Ken) 2:28:48, 3. Shuko Genomo (Eth) 2:29:41.
Indians: 1. Sudha Singh 2:48:32, 2. Jyoti Gawate 2:50:47, 3. Parul Chaudhary 2:53:26.
Men’s half marathon: 1. Pradeep Singh (Ind) 1:05:42; 2. Shankar Man Thapa (Ind) 1:06:40; 3. Deepak Kumbhar (Ind) 1:06:54.
Women’s half marathon: 1. Sanjeevani Jadhav (Ind) 1:26:24; 2. Monika Athare (Ind) 1:27:15; 3. Juma Khatun (Ind) 1:27:48.