T. Gopi (Photo: Shyam G Menon)

Indian marathoner T. Gopi finished his race at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in two hours, 15 minutes, 57 seconds (2:15:57) to place twenty first in a field of 55 finishers.

The marathon was won by Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, who crossed the finish line in 2:10:40, a season’s best (SB). His fellow countryman Mosinet Geremew (2:10:44) placed second while Kenya’s Amos Kipruto (2:10:51) ended third. Callum Hawkins of Great Britain (2:10:57) finished fourth.

The best finisher from USA was Ahmed Osman (2:16:22) who placed 23rd. The top Japanese finisher was Hiroki Yamagishi (2:16:43). Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon placed 29th with a finish time of 2:17:59.

The men’s marathon, like the women’s earlier, was held at night to escape the daytime temperature of Qatar. According to IAAF’s race summary, the temperature was around 29 degrees Celsius and the humidity, 48 per cent, for the men’s marathon. “ It was hot, but I prepared perfectly for this race,” Lelisa Desisa, who is also winner of the 2018 New York City Marathon, was quoted as saying in the report.

As per information on the IAAF website, 18 runners did not finish (DNF) the race in the men’s marathon.

Prior to the marathon, the list of runners starting the race, featured 73 athletes.

Only the top six finishers have turned in timings better than the qualifying mark assigned for men’s marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – 2:11:30. Among runners from Asian countries, El Hassan El Abbassi representing Bahrain (he is a Moroccan born runner who competes internationally for Bahrain) had the fastest time – 2:11:44; he finished seventh. Shaohui Yang of China (2:15:17) who placed twentieth had the second fastest time, followed immediately by Gopi. There was one new personal best (PB) and nine season’s best (SB) reported from the race. The sole PB and four of the SBs were at timings slower than Gopi’s. The SBs that ranked higher belonged to runners from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Italy.

Gopi qualified for the 2019 world championships with the timing of 2:13:39 he registered at the 2019 Seoul Marathon. That is also his personal best. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he had finished 25th with a timing of 2:15:25.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

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