Kavita, Sudha to lead Indian challenge

Returning to the competition after a gap of three years, Kavita Raut alongside steeple chase Olympian, Sudha Singh, is the most high profile Indian woman at the Delhi Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday.

Holder of the current course record of 1:17: 12 seconds and twice winner of the Indian women's competition in the event, Raut, despite her formidable reputation, however hasn't been in the best of form lately. While she failed to qualify for the Olympics her form has dipped even more subsequently, something she credits to the fatigue of preparing for the London Games. Earlier this month at the 52nd National Open Athletics Championships, Raut failed to finish the 10,000m — an event in which she has a silver at the Asian Games.

What that event however threw up is the name of teenager Monica Athare, who will be lining up alongside . A fellow native of Nashik, the 19-year-old won a bronze in that event. The nationals wasn't the first time Athare, who shares a coach with Raut, in Veejendra Singh, has shone she also has a road race win earlier this year in the Bangalore 10k race. A strong showing in Delhi half marathon may be her breakout performance.

Against the East Africans, it is the trio of Sudha, Raut and Athare, who best stand a chance. What may help will be the knowledge, both Singh and Raut, gained having trained alongside the Kenyans in their preparations for the London Olympics. "We have the home advantage and we can give tough competition to the Kenyans," Singh says.

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