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Yadav,Kelai to defend their marathon titles

Defending champion among the Indian participants Ram Singh Yadav,who won last year’s full marathon in a timing of 2:18:22 will head the pack which includes the likes of Deep Chand...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 8, 2009 1:41:39 am

Defending champion among the Indian participants Ram Singh Yadav,who won last year’s full marathon in a timing of 2:18:22 will head the pack which includes the likes of Deep Chand,Satya Prakash and Anand Kumar in the upcoming Mumbai Marathon,which will be held on January 18.

Former winner A Leelamma,Indresh Dhiraj,Sukanya Mal and Aruna Devi will be carrying the Indian aspirations in the women’s full marathon,while in the shorter version it will be local lass from Nasik,Kavita Raut along with Preeti Rao,Preeja Sreedharan,Vaishali Chatare and Anju Bijare who will be vying for top honours.

In the main marathon,the men’s field sees the return of John Kelai,attempting to make it a hat-trick of titles. Kelai clocked 2:12.27 while claiming the title for the first time in 2007 and lowered it to 2:12:22 last year.

He will be aiming to further lower that timing to break the existing course record of 2:12.03 that was set by Daniel Rono in 2006. Kelai will face a strong challenge from fellow countryman Japhet Kosgei,who has a personal best of 2:07.

Though Kosgei failed to finish among the top places in 2008,the experience should hold him in good stead. He also has to his credit a 2:09 finish last year to prove his credentials.

The other big names in the men’s field are French/Kenyan Simon Munyutu,who clocked 2:09 in Paris last spring,and Ukrainian Olexander Kukin,who boasts a best of 2:07 and likes to run in hot conditions. Moroccan Adrerahime Bouramdane,with a best of 2:08.20,set in 2007 and Russian Oleg Kulkov,with a best of 2:11,recorded in 2008 are the other athletes of note.

The women’s field is led by Kenyan Margaret Okeyo,a former London Marathon winner,making her debut in Mumbai. Okeyo has a personal best of 2:25 and will be pushed hard by fellow Kenyan Lenah Cheruiyot,who ran 2:26:00 in Paris in 2008. The Ethiopian challenge will be led by Shitaye Gemechu (2:26) and Leila Aman,while Russian Irina Permitina (2:26:51) and China’s Xin Zhang (2:26:32),are also strong challengers.

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