Elam Singh turned his switch from 3,000m steeplechase to the marathon a fruitful one. The 31-year-old Army Sports Institute (Pune) athlete made light of October heat and humidity to win in style in elite men’s category at the 2nd Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon 2012, clocking 2:21:58 on a tough course to pocket Rs 2 lakh prize money.
Last year's men's champion Deep Chand has quit competitive athletics and is aspiring to be a coach.
Running the third marathon of his career, following Allahabad and Mumbai runs last year, he stayed ahead of vastly experienced ASI teammate Binning Lyngkhoi (2:25:10) on a route marked by turns, two flyovers and a gradual slope. “I wanted to remain in control so went ahead from the beginning,” said Elam, who had missed qualification in ‘B’ standard for the 2012 London Olympics by mere 27 seconds (2:18:27) at the Mumbai Marathon early this year in January.
Girish Tiwari from Indian Air Force was timed at 2:28:36 in the third spot.
Kavita Raut (Maharashtra) and Ashish Chauhan (ASI) won the women and men half-marathon respectively. Kavita was adjudged winner in a photo-finish with training partner Monika Athare (both timed at 1:22:03) following a stunning surge to the tape. “We train together in Nashik under coach Vijender Singh, so enjoyed responding to the challenge from a younger rival,” said the women’s winner, recently honoured with the Arjuna. “My focus is on the Asian Championships next year, this marathon is part of my endurance preparation.”
Last year’s champion Kiran Tiwari came third (1:24:53). Sudha Singh, India’s entry in women’s steeplechase in London 2012, stayed away.
Ashish Chauhan, the men’s half-marathon winner in 1:07:28, pushed ASI teammate Arjun Pradhan (1:08:08) to the second spot.
Olympic wrestling hero Sushil Kumar was the event ambassador and this marathon is sanctioned by the Athletics Federation of India.
Men’s marathon: 1. Elam Singh 2:21:58, 2. Binning Lyngkhoi 2:25:10, 3. Girish Tiwari 2:28:36, 4. Jaybhay D B 2:28:49. 5. Vikas Kumar 2:32:56, 6. Sawleram Shinde 2:33:34, 7. Bhaskar Kamble 2:34:37, 8. Shivdan Singh 2:36:06, 9. Hari Shanker Sharma 2:38:47, 10. Don D’Silva 2:47:19.
Half-marathon: Women: 1. Kavita Raut 1:22:03, 2. Monika Athare 1:22:03, 3. Kiran Tiwari 1:24:53. Men: 1. Ashish Chauhan 1:07:28, 2. Arjun Pradhan 1:08:08, 3. Sandeep Kumar 1:09:36.
Keywords: Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon 2012