Sachin Tendulkar with winners from the women’s elite category of the full marathon at the 2019 IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon (Photo: courtesy Jyoti Gawate)

Rashpal Singh and Jyoti Gawate emerged winners in the men’s and women’s category of the fourth edition of the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon held on February 24, 2019. Both athletes competed in the elite section of the race.

Rashpal Singh won with a timing of 2 hours 21 minutes and 55 seconds. Jyoti finished first among women with a timing of 2:47:54, which is an improvement over her performance last year at the same event but short of the mark she had been hoping for. A consistent podium finisher in women’s marathon for the past several years, in January 2019, Jyoti had placed second among elite women at the Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM).

Sachin Tendulkar with winners from the men’s elite category of the full marathon at the 2019 IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon (Photo: courtesy Sunil Shetty)

Among elite men, Sher Singh came second in New Delhi on Sunday with a timing of 2:23:16 followed by Manavendra Singh with a timing of 2:28:27. All the three podium finishers – including Rashpal Singh – train at the Army Sports Institute in Pune, news reports said.

Jyoti, the winner among elite women, was hoped to improve upon her 2019 TMM timing of 2:45:42, in New Delhi. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. “ There were too many turns this time on the route,’’ she told this blog Sunday evening. The route of the marathon in New Delhi was altered slightly this year.

Nevertheless, she was happy with her performance as she had bettered her timing over the previous years in the same event. In the 2018 edition of the New Delhi Marathon, she had finished second with a timing of 2:50:11. The runner from Parbhani district of Maharashtra was hoping to improve her timing and get below the cut-off timing of 2:37 hours required for participation in the IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar, later this year. “ I am happy with her performance in Delhi today,’’ Ravi Raskatla, Jyoti’s coach said. Jyoti had finished third in 2016, second in 2017 and 2018 and now secured first place in the 2019 edition of the event.

Jyoti Gawate and her coach Ravi Raskatla at the New Delhi Marathon (Photo: courtesy Jyoti Gawate)

Going ahead, she is slated to participate in the 2019 New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon scheduled for March 17, 2019. For more on Jyoti please try this link: https://shyamgopan.com/2019/02/04/jyoti-and-the-eight-minutes/

Among elite women in the full marathon, Jigmet Dolma finished second (3:01:30) followed two seconds later by Tsetan Dolkar (3:01:32) who placed third. Both these athletes are from Ladakh and belong to the team supported by Rimo Expeditions; every winter they spend a few months competing at races in India’s big cities. In January, Jigmet had placed third among elite women at TMM.

The timings returned by Jigmet and Tsetan in Delhi are noteworthy. Soon after TMM, in conversations with this blog in Mumbai, both runners had mentioned that their next objective is to progress towards sub three-hour timing in the full marathon. Sunday’s timing may not be there yet but it is close and importantly, a sizable improvement over the timing they registered in Mumbai. At 2019 TMM, Jigmet had finished in 3:10:36; Tsetan’s timing was 3:13:05.

Jigmet Dolma (left) and Tsetan Dolkar at the New Delhi Marathon (Photo: courtesy Chewang Motup)

In the elite half marathon segment, Robin Singh finished first among men with a timing of 1:09:01; Jyoti Singh took top honours among women finishing the race in 1:22:12 hours. From the men’s category in the half marathon, Dipak Suhaug finished second (1:11:07) and Deepak Singh third (1:12:51). Among women, Ujala finished second (1:24:25) and Prabhawati Rawat third (1:34:26).

Initiatives by running communities and well-wishers of running to support talent in the sport have contributed to podium finishes at domestic marathons. Rimo’s travel and training program for Ladakhi runners bore fruit in the half marathon segment of the New Delhi Marathon as well. Tashi Ladol and Stanzin Chondol, who fetched podium finishes just days ago at the Navi Mumbai Half Marathon, finished second and third respectively among women in the half marathon segment (18-25 years age group) of the New Delhi Marathon. Tashi finished in 1:30:17; Stanzin in 1:31:20. Similarly, in New Delhi, the team from Run Meghalaya also had its share of podium finishes and near podium finishes. In the women’s elite category of the full marathon, Darishisha Iangjuh placed fourth with a timing of 3:23:45. Earlier in January, Darishisha had been a podium finisher in Mumbai; with a timing of 3:21:07 she had placed third overall among amateur women and second in her age category. In the 18-35 years age group of the full marathon for men, Kresstarjune Pathaw finished first in New Delhi; he completed the race in 2:36:44 hours. In the age group of 35-45 years for men, Tlanding Wahlang (2:34:57) placed first. At 2019 TMM, Tlanding had placed second overall among amateurs and first in his age category with a timing of 2:40:53.

The team from Run Meghalaya at the New Delhi Marathon. From left: Tlanding Wahlang, Kresstarjune Pathaw, Arbet Nonglang, Darishisha Iangjuh and Dr Carolyne Lyngdoh (Photo: courtesy Habari Warjri)

In the open category of the full marathon in New Delhi, among women in the 18-35 years age group, Swati Panchabuddhe (3:08:51) placed first; in second position was Divyanka Chaudhary (3:16:40) and in third, Kaylea Brase (3:23:47). In the same age group for men, Pramod Chahar (2:38:23) and Nanjundappa M (2:38:48) finished second and third respectively. In the age category of 35-45 years among men, second and third positions went to Manjit Singh (2:44:28) and Hemant (2:54:28). In the same age category, women podium finishers were Ranjini Gupta (3:35:05), Aradhana Reddy (3:35:16) and Payal Khanna (3:41:18).

Thomas Bobby Philip (2:55:44), Murthy R.K (3:12:04) and Parag Dongre (3:15:07) were podium finishers among men in the age group of 45-55 years. Women podium finishers in the same age group were Nirupma Singh (3:40:30), Gurmeet Bhalla (3:52:46) and Ashima Mehra (4:01:07). As of Sunday night, the event’s results table posted on the web, showed only one podium finisher for the age group 40-45: Satyajit Joshi (4:38:26). In the age category 55 years and above, podium finishers among men were Ashok Nath (3:26:16), K.C Kothandapani (3:29:50) and Lachhman Singh (3:32:43). For women in that age group, there was only one podium position shown: Martha Corazzini (5:16:06).

Sunday’s race was flagged off from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

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