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Tirunesh Dibaba Ready for Joyciline Jepkosgei Challenge in Delhi Half Marathon

Tirunesh Dibaba, a three Olympic gold winner in 5,000m and 10,000m, ran an outstanding time of 2:18:55 at the Berlin Marathon in September, but said she has recovered quickly despite the short amount of time between the two races.

PTI

Updated:October 20, 2018, 10:35 AM IST
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Tirunesh Dibaba Ready for Joyciline Jepkosgei Challenge in Delhi Half Marathon
File photo of Ethiopia's distance running great Tirunesh Dibaba.
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New Delhi: Ethiopia's distance running great Tirunesh Dibaba has declared herself fit for Sunday's Airtel Delhi Half Marathon despite having a recovery period of just five weeks from the gruelling Berlin Marathon.

Three Olympic gold winner in 5,000m and 10,000m, Dibaba ran an outstanding time of 2:18:55 at the Berlin Marathon on September 16 but she said she has recovered quickly despite the short amount of time between the two races.

She said she was to challenge for the first prize cheque of $27,000 -- the richest half marathon winner's jackpot in the world -- in the Capital city on Sunday.

"One of my plans was to run a 21K (half marathon) after Berlin and my manager told me about Delhi, and I thought it was a good idea," said Dibaba, who has turned into one of the world's top road runners after a medal-laden track and cross country career.

"I've recovered more-or-less, although I wanted to run faster in Berlin. I've come to Delhi with the first target of winning, I'm not thinking about times too much," added Dibaba.

The ADHM course record of 66:54 was set by Kenya's Mary Keitany in 2009.

Current half marathon world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei said weather conditions would be key in the race on Sunday.

"I'm very happy to be here, it's a privilege to meet Indian people, and I'm looking to run a fast time. Of course, it all depends on the weather and climate," added the diminutive Kenyan who holds the world record of 64:51 set in October 2017.

Delhi has a reputation as a flat and fast course, demonstrated by the times posted by the leading runners in recent years, and the 14th edition of the ADHM — which has established itself as one of the world's leading races over the distance — is expected to have good running conditions on the race day.

The temperatures at the early morning start time for the elite races are expected to be in the low 20s (degrees Celsius) and the race promoters Procam International have made big efforts to diminish the pollution levels of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

The men's race will see 2016 Olympic marathoners Gopi Thonakal and Nitender Singh Rawat go head-to-head, the former also the 2017 Asian marathon champion and the latter the leading Indian man in last year's ADHM.

The target for both men is not only Rawat's Indian ADHM best of 63:53 set in 2017 but the national record of Bugatha Shrinu from Bhopal in 2016.

"Fifteen years ago, there was no road running culture in India and now we have world record holders and Olympic champions coming here. This is something India can be very proud of," said Vivek Singh, joint managing director of race promoters Procam International.

"The fact that runners like Tirunesh (Dibaba) and Joyciline (Jepkosgei) have chosen the ADHM over the many other race options they had it a great statement for this event and for India," he added.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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