New Delhi: Records tumbled at the Delhi Half Marathon as Ethiopians Amedework Walelegn and Yalemzerf Yehualaw broke course records to take the men’s and women’s titles while India’s Avinash Sable broke the national record with a time of 1:00:30.
Walelegn outsprinted his Ethiopian compatriot and two-time defending champion Andamlak Belihu to win in 58:53, the latter coming crossing the line in 58:54.
Yehualow, 21, who had to settle for third at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships last month when she slipped around 80 metres from the line, bounced back with aplomb to take the $27,000 first prize and an additional $10,000 as an event record bonus. She crossed the line with a time of 64:46.
“My training since the world championships told me that maybe I could break the course record as I ran 65:19 there, but this was more than I expected, and I hoped for a win here after just losing by a second a year ago,” said Yehualaw.
Walelegn said that he felt confident in the final kilometre after suffering a few bad patches earlier. “I had a few bad patches but in the final kilometre I felt strong. I was second in Delhi in 2018 and this is a much faster course which has less sharp turns,” said Walelegn, reflecting on the new circuit which incorporated two six-kilometre loops.
Sable raced to first position in the Indian elite men’s category in 1:00:30, beating the previous national record of 1:03.46 held by Kalidas Nirave. In addition to the prize money of Rs 3.5 lakh, Avinash will also receive an event record bonus of Rs 1 lakh.
“It’s great to break the national record. I have not competed in any tournament for a year and I have been only practicing, so I wanted to compete in an event. ADHM has certainly helped me to prepare for the Olympics next year. Coming into the race, I wanted to break the national record and stay as close as possible to the international runners during the race. I am happy I was able to do that,” said Sable.