New Delhi : Debutant Tsehay Gemechu smashed the course record in the women’s event while Andamalak Belihu overcame stiff competition in the men’s elite field as the Ethiopian duo raced to top honours at the Delhi Half Marathon here on Sunday. It was maiden victory at the course for both the winners at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which saw over 34,000 participants turn up for an array of race events. The 20-year-old Gemechu, running her maiden half marathon, clocked 1:06:50sec, four seconds better than the earlier women’s course record of 1:06:54sec, which had been in the name of Kenya’s Mary Keitany since 2009. Current women’s half marathon world record holder, Joyciline Jepkosgei, finished with a silver medal after completing the race at 1:06:56sec. Zeineba Yimer of Ethiopia grabbed the last spot on the podium with a time of 1:06:59sec.
Both Gemechu and Belihu pocketed the identical winners’ cheque of USD 27,000. Gemechu will take home an additional USD 10,000 for setting a new course record. Among the Indians, Abhishek Pal won the the men’s race clocking 1:4:14 seconds. The 22-year-old Maharashtra runner Avinash Sable was second in 1:04:14sec as he won the silver, while Asian marathon champion Gopi T claimed the third spot with 1:04:15sec. Defending champion Nitendra Singh, who had created the course record last time, time finished 12th among the Indians at 1:06:37sec. Sanjivani Jadhav was the best Indian in the women’s elite field finishing with a time of 1:13:58sec.