Athletics

Kolkata 25K: Bekele wins on 25K debut

No competition: Despite lagging behind at the halfway mark, Kenenisa Bekele upped the pace to win comfortably in the presence of Mike Powell, left, and Sourav Ganguly.  

Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele overcame the handicap of running without a pace maker to record a convincing win with a new new course record of 1:13:48 in the first international edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K here on Sunday.

Eritrean Tsegay Tuemay (1:14:29) and Tanzanian Augustino Sulle (1:14: 41) fought to take the second and third places respectively.

In the women’s race, another Ethiopian, Degitu Azimeraw, narrowly won the title in 1:26:01. Kenyan Helah Kiprop (1:26:04) and Tanzanian Failuna Matanga (1:26:11) were second and third respectively.

Bekele rose to the expectation in his first 25K race even though he could not achieve the target of a better timing. The champion runner, who was the slowest among the top five finishers at the 12km mark with 39:16, broke away from the lead group at about 21km to touch the ribbon comfortably.

The current world record of 1:11:18 is held by Kenyan Denis Kimetto.

The top three finishers in the women’s race stayed together till the 24.5km before Degitu gave a late charge. The Ethiopian had a close shave as she avoided hitting the wall on her left, meters away from the finish line.

Sable succeeds

Steeplechaser Avinash Sable succeeded in his strategy of sticking to the international athletes for more than 15km. He returned a fabulous time of 1:15:17 to emerge as the best Indian and overall fourth.

Defending champion G. Lakshmanan made little of a calf muscle cramp to place third and better his course record (1:17:16).

The overall men and women winners got $7,500 each, while the Indian winners received ₹2.75 lakh each.

The results: Overall: Men: 1. Kenenisa Bekele (Eth) 1:13:48, 2. Tsegay Tuemay (Eri) 1:14:29, 3. Augustino Sulle (Tan) 1:14:41.

Women: Degitu Azimeraw (Eth) 1:26: 01, 2. Helah Kiprop (Ken) 1:26:04, 3. Failuna Matanga (Tan) 1:26:11.

Indian: Men: 1. Avinash Sable 1:15:17 (overall fourth), 2. Kalidas Hirave 1:16: 18, 3. G. Lakshmanan 1:17:13.

Women: 1. L. Suriya 1:26:53 (overall fifth), 2. Manju Yadav 1:32: 51, 3. Juma Khatun 1:32:58.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 12:32:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/kolkata-25k-bekele-wins-on-25k-debut/article21827661.ece

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