Army’s Srinu Bugatha and Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh won the men’s and women’s titles respectively of the sixth New Delhi Marathon on Sunday. Both the winners, however, fell short of the qualification timings of this year’s Olympic Games.
Bugatha clocked 2 hours 14 minutes and 59 seconds while Sudha’s winning time was 2 hours 43 minutes and 41 seconds. The distance of both men’s and women’s race is 42km.
Bugatha, though, improved his personal best by three minutes, but was far off the Olympics qualification time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 30 seconds.
Sudha, an Asian Games 3,000m steeplechase gold winner, too failed to live up to her expectations of cracking the Olympic qualification time of 2 hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds.
The pre-race hype of Sudha cracking the Olympic qualification time vanished half way through the race. She clocked one hour 16 minutes for the 21km mark, the halfway stage of the race.
But to stay on course for Olympic qualification she had to cover the second half of the race, 21km, in less than one hour 14 minutes. Going by her pre-race expectation, she was prepared to run the second half faster than the first one.
Unexpectedly for Sudha, at 25km, she suffered cramps in her legs. She wanted to quit the race at that moment but her team persuaded her to carry on. Disappointment was writ large on her face when she crossed the finish line.
“I wasn’t expecting this. After running endless miles at training, I was supposed to achieve a good result. I’m unhappy,” she told IANS during the post-race media interaction.
According to Sudha’s coach Surendra Singh, it would take four to six weeks to recover from Sunday’s marathon race before aiming for the next race.
“Sudha has pain in the lower legs. Once she is fit to resume hard training again we would think of the next race – maybe, sometime in May,” he said.
Jyoti Shankarrao Gawate was distant second with a time of 2 hours 58 minutes and 23 seconds. Jigmet Dolma was third in 3 hours 04.52 seconds.
Bugatha’s hope of making a cut for the Tokyo Olympics too evaporated half way through the gruelling race. The Army runner, however, had the consolation of clocking his personal best of 2 hours 14 minutes and 59 seconds.
The runners from the Army took the second and third spots. Olympian Nitendra Singh Rawat finished second with a time of 2 hours 18 minutes 54 seconds while Rashpal Singh clocked 2 hours 18 minutes 57 seconds for the third place.