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In Neeraj’s absence, Annu Rani wins javelin gold at National Open Athletics C’ship



Annu Rani
Annu Rani bagged the gold medal in the women's javelin throw event

Ranchi: Continuing her good run, Annu Rani bagged the gold medal in the women’s javelin throw event at the 59th National Open Athletics Championships.

Annu, who set the national record at 62.43m to enter the women’s javelin throw final at the World Championships in Doha earlier this month, registered a comfortable win at the Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium.

Each of Annu’s six throws were better than the best managed by her Railways’ team-mate and rival, Sharmila Kumari.

The 25-year-old opened with a throw of 56.97m to make her intentions clear. She followed that up with a series of throws over 55.97, 58.31, 57.29 and 56.86 before securing the title with a 58.60m throw.

Sharmila’s best effort was over 53.28m on her third throw.

Meanwhile, star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra said he decided not to take part in the championships on the advice of his coach.

“AFI officials talked to my coach. And coach told me you are getting better but you never know what will happen in a competition when you exert yourself after so long. Then I decided to skip the event as I thought it is not good to take part by not heeding to what they are saying,” Neeraj told PTI.

ONGC’s Suresh Kuma, 28, bagged the top honours in men’s 10000m race at the national level after five years by clinching the gold with a timing of 29 minutes 41.25 seconds.

He lasted emerged victorious in the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Lucknow in June 2014. Asian Championships bronze medallist Murli Kumar Gavit (Gujarat) finished a distant ninth.

Earlier, Jinson Johnson (AFI) and Ajay Kumar Saroj (Railways) each won their men’s 1500m heats and set up what could be an interesting final.

The two runners were content to finish ahead of the pack in the two heats, nudging ahead of Rahul (Delhi) and Bir Singh (Haryana) by 0.21 seconds and 0.45 seconds respectively.

Services’ T Santhosh Kumar, 21, clocked 51.78 seconds to be the most impressive athlete in the men’s 400m hurdles.

MP Jabir (AFI) and Ayyasamy Dharun (Tamil Nadu), who represented India in the World Championships, did enough to win their respective heats.

World University Games champion Dutee Chand emerged the fastest in the women’s 100m semifinals qualifiers, clocking 11.55 seconds in the heats.

Archana Suseendran also got through to the semifinals after finishing third in her heats in 11.87s behind Priyanka Kalagi (Railways) and MV Jilna (Kerala).

ONGC’s Siddhanth Thingalaya was the only qualifier in the men’s 110m hurdles with a timing of 13.83 seconds, which is only six-hundredths of a second slower than the meet record he set back in Kolkata in 2011. If he can sustain his rhythm in the final, he could rewrite that mark.

Results: Men: 10000m: 1. Suresh Kumar (ONGC) 29:25.56; 2. Ranjeet Kumar Patel (Railways) 29:41.35; 3. Bugatha Srinu (Services) 30:03.50.

Javelin Throw: 1. Annu Rani (Railways) 58.60m; 2. Sharmila Kumari (Railways) 53.28; 3. Poonam Rani (Haryana) 50.67.

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Two much fun for Belihu, Gemechu at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

Sayan Mukherjee



ADHM 2019
Andamlak Belihu bettered his timing by eight seconds this year.

New Delhi: Ethiopians trumped Kenyans in a long-standing rivalry between the two East African middle and long distance running powerhouses as Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu defended their Airtel Delhi Half Marathon titles on Sunday.

Belihu clocked 59:10 to retain the men’s title at the 15th edition of the event while Gemechu (66:00) reset the event record, producing her personal best timing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Belihu improved by eight seconds on last year’s timing at the IAAF Gold Label Race, finishing ahead of compatriot Solomon Berihu (59:17) and Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie (59:33).

Ethiopia’s Guye Adola (59.06) set the course record in 2014, Belihu came up short by only 4 seconds.

In the women’s section, Ethiopians swept the podium as Gemechu was followed by Yelamzerf Yehualaw (1:06:01) and Zeineba Yimer (1:06:57).

Last year, Gemechu had produced a personal best of 66:50 to set a course record. The 21-year-old shaved off 50 seconds off her 2018 timing.

The winners got richer by $27,000 first prize. Gemechu pocketed an additional $10,000, for setting the course record.

“I am happy to have broken the course record. I was tired after participating at the World Championships in Doha. But I wanted to win in Delhi. I am very happy to have achieved my personal best as well,” said Gemechu.

Belihu said he was disappointed o have missed the course record by such a small margin.

“I am a bit disappointed to have missed the course record but overall it was a good race. I plan to run a few marathons and half marathons. But it depends on my training. I need to discuss with my coach before taking a call,” he said.

Among Indians, Srinu Bugatha topped in the men’s section with a timing of 1:4:33. Three- time ADHM champ Suresh Patel (1:04:57) was second, ahead of Harshad Mhatre (1:05:12).

In women’s section for Indians, Loganathan Suriya, the course record holder, triumphed with a timing of 1:12:49, followed by Parul Chaudhary (1:13:55) and Chinta Yadav (1:15:28).

Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, event ambassador Carmelita Jeter were present at the event to encourage the athletes.

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Cash bonus added incentive for Indian runners at 2019 ADHM

Sayan Mukherjee



2019 ADHM
Indian athletes Shankar Man Thapa (from left to right), Pradeep Chaudhary, Srinu Bugatha, Parul Chaudhary, L Suriya, Meenu, Anil Kumar Yadav and Man Singh practice at the JLN Stadium on Saturday.

New Delhi: Money would be an added motivation for Indian athletes at the 2019 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.

Indian runners would be awarded a bonus of Rs 1 lakh if they succeed in setting a new course record this year. A total of 22 men and 23 women would participate in the race on Sunday.

Among them, course record holder L Suriya, Parul Chaudhary and Priti Lamba are top names in the women’s section. Suresh Kumar Patel, Srinu Bugatha, Pradeep Chaudhary would be th ones to look out for in the men’s category in the IAAF Gold Label race.

Suriya set the course record with a time of 1:10:31 in 2017. She said she is looking foward to better that mark.

“In 2017 I enjoyed the run as the weather was also good, which helped me put up a good performance that year. I am looking forward to another great experience,” Suriya said.

Parul Chaudhary said the athletes are happy with the cash incentive on offer. “I will definitely give it my all to achieve a bonus prize this year,” she said.

Pradeep and Srinu hoped the improved weather conditions since Friday would suit the runners on Sunday.

“The conditions are windy and suitable for runners,” Pradeep said.

“I am targetting clocking my best time and will try to break the course record,” said Bugatha.

After helping Kipchoge create history, ‘kingmaker’ Kiptanui wants to be ‘king’ at 2019 ADHM

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After helping Kipchoge create history, ‘kingmaker’ Kiptanui wants to be ‘king’ at 2019 ADHM

Sayan Mukherjee



Eric Kiptanui
Eric Kiptanui is considered to be the dark horse at the 2019 ADHM. Photo: @IAAF

New Delhi: Reflected glory is not necessarily a bad thing, there’s a certain pleasure to be derived from it. But after setting pace for Eliud Kipchoge’s epoch-making sub-two hour marathon run at Vienna, ‘kingmaker’ Eric Kiptanui now wants to become the ‘king’ at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM).

Kenyan Kiptanui was the captain of the 14 pacemakers for his compatriot’s Ineos 1:59 Challenge, where Kipchoge became the first person to run a marathon (42.2km) under two hours. He broke the sub-two barrier by running a marathon in 1:59:40.

However, Kipchoge’s achievement, however, is not an official record as his run in Vienna didn’t adhere to standard marathon rules.

“I was a little bit nervous. I wanted Kipchoge to run harder towards the end,” Kiptanui said on Friday.

Marathon world record holder Kipchoge had assembled a 41-person pacing team, a compilation of some of the best runners, to help him achieve the mark.

The runners chosen were either one of the fastest in 2019, a continental champion, World Championship or Olympic finalist, national record holder or some combination of the four.

While being grateful to have been at such a close proximity of a historic moment in athletics, Kiptanui now wants to be the man making the headlines.

“Ofcourse I want to be the king. I think after Eliud I will get the chance to be the headline maker,” the 29-year-old said.

Though a specialist half marathoner on the long-distance athletics circuit, Kiptanui will be making his debut at the Delhi half marathon this year.

His stock has steadily increased over the last two years with wins at the 2018 Lisbon Half Marathon, Berlin Half Marathon and the Barcelona Half Marathon in 2019

“I enjoy running half marathons. But I am progressing towards the marathons now,” he informed.

He anticipates a tough fight on Sunday from Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, the defending ADHM champion, who would be looking to better his compatriot Guye Adola’s course record (59:06).

Belihu clocked 59:18 to win last year but missed out on the course record by 12 seconds. Belihu also won the TCS World 10K title in Bengaluru in May.

“It was a little frustrating just missing out on the course record last year but after coming here and doing well in Delhi in the last two years, I have experience and think I know what it takes go faster. The most important thing is to win but if the pace is good, I can beat the course record,” commented the 20-year-old Belihu.

“I have trained after Vienna to freshen up my body and I am ready to run on Sunday,” Kiptanui said.

“Ethiopians are tough. They have power to finish races strongly whereas Kenyans often don’t have enery at the finish line.”

While the Kenya vs Ethiopia East African battle will be the highlight of the men’s race this year, the women’s field will be led by defending champion Tsehay Gemechu. Ethiopian Gemechu of Ethopia set a course record of 66:50 last year.

ADHM 2019

The top men and female athletes at a 2019 ADHM event in New Delhi on Friday.

Kenyan-born Kazakhstan national Caroline Kipkirui, the fastest woman in the race with a best of 65:07, will be Gemechu’s leading rival.

“This will be a very tough race. The Ethiopian women are very strong but don’t discount me and the Kenyans like (Edith) Chelimo and (Irene) Cheptai,” said Kipkirui, who is sixth on the all-time list for the distance.

The ADHM’s 15th edition will flaunt seven sub-60 minute runners among men and nine sub-70 minute runners among women.

Over 40,000 will participate in various races on Sunday. The men’s and women’s winners will get richer by $27,000. The total prize money purse (men and women combined) is $275,000.

Joint managing director of the ADHM, an IAAF Gold Label Race, promotors Procam International, Vivek Singh, said he was glad to “have both our defending champions come back to the ADHM.”

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