Reigning Asian Champion Gopi Thonakal ran his personal best to retain his title at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon in New Delhi on Sunday.
Gopi clocked 2 hour, 15 minute and 16 seconds to clinch the gold under ideal running conditions but missed the tough Commonwealth Games qualification mark set by the Athletics Federation of India.
Nitendra Singh Rawat was second in 2:24:55 while Bahadur Singh Dhoni took the bronze in 2:24:56.
The 4:30am start time of the race at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, flagged off by cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, gave the runners an ideal temperature of just over 15 degree celsius — around 18 degree when the race ended — and Gopi was able to better his earlier best of 2:15:25 (clocked during 2016 Olympics) by nine seconds.
The 29-year-old Gopi’s effort was, however, well outside the 2:12:50 qualification standard of the AFI for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. He had won the title last year in 2:15:37.
Gopi had won the Asian Marathon title in China in November last year with a time of 2:15:48.
In the women’s event also, Monika Athare retained her title, clocking 2:43:46, ahead of last edition silver medallist Jyoti Gawte (2:50:12) and Monica Raut (2:55:02).
Around 65 elite Indian athletes too part in the full marathon of 42.195km.