Ethiopian Atsedu Tsegay wins Delhi half marathon in record time

Atsedu TsegayAtsedu Tsegay stopped the clock at 59.12 minutes to lower the course record by three seconds (PTI)

Ethiopian Atsedu Tsegay demolished the course record to emerge triumphant in the elite men's category, while Florence Kiplagat led a Kenyan clean sweep in the women's event of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon here on Sunday.

Tsegay stopped the clock at 59.12 minutes to lower the course record by three seconds set by countryman Deriba Merga in 2008.

He was followed home by Kenyans Geoffrey Kipsang in 59.30 and Wilson Kiprop (59.49). Kipsang, the fastest athlete of the year (58.54) was coping with the loss of his 17-year-old brother Elais, who passed away on Friday and overcame his grief to run a brave race, but was thwarted in his bid to win the race by Tsegay. Defending champion Edwin Kipyego finished a disappointing eighth. The men's and women's winners were richer by $25,000.

The women's race, also chasing a course record, failed in its bid due to a slow start, but picked up in the later stages and was won by Kenyan Florence Kiplagat in 68 minutes. Florence, the 2103 Berlin Marathon winner, led a Kenyan sweep, with Gladys Cherono finishing second in 68.03 and Lucy Kabuu taking third place in 68.10.

The elite men's race, unlike the women's, began at a fast clip and was taken through the first 12kms below the course record pace of 2.48 mins per km by pacers Vincent Rono and Timothy Kiptoo. After the pacemakers dropped out around the 12km mark, the pace fell a bit as the leaders assessed each other, before Atsedu took control. The lead bunch of Tsegay, Kipsang, Kiprop and Kipkemoi were still running strongly and together, before the Ethiopian ran the 16th kilometre in 2.45 to open up the lead.

Lakshmanan, Preeja win

The Indian category was won by G Lakshmanan and Preeja Sreedharan among the men and women respectively. Lakshmanan, representing the Army, finished in 64.44, followed home by Kheta Ram in 64.49 and Ratti Ram Saini in 64.51. Lakshmanan, finished 15th overall, with Kheta Ram (16th) and Ratti Ram (17th). Preeja clocked 80.04, followed home by Kavita Raut (80.06) and Lalita Babbar (80.09). The winners took home Rs 2.5 lakh each.

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