Services runners in full strength at Mumbai Marathon
Mumbai: The top ten runners from Services, including last year’s best finisher among Indians Binning Lyngkhoi and 2012 champion Ram Singh Yadav would be vying for the top prize of Rs five lakh offered to the top home nation runner in Sunday’s Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
Retiring army coach for marathon and distance running, K S Mathew, said that the cancellation of next month’s Mawana Sugars Indian national marathon has resulted in the top Services athletes’ presence here for the January 19 race.
“A total of 20 Services runners, including the top ten, are taking part in the Mumbai Marathon after the cancellation of the February 23 national marathon. Among those who would be racing are Satya Prakash and Kajilal Vinilog Patle, who finished 1st and 2nd at the January 5 Kolkata Marathon,” said Mathew who is set to retire on March 31 after 34 years service.
Seasoned runners Binning, who had finished tops among Indian men twice earlier, and Elam Singh are the other strong contenders while 2012 winner Yadav, who qualified for the London Olympics by setting the course record of 2:16.59, is not in top shape after having recovered a few days ago from a right knee injury.
“I recovered only 4-5 days ago after injuring my left knee and could not complete my training (for the race). I can’t do my best time but will try my best. I qualified for the London Olympics in 2012 by winning here, but then could not perform well there as I got injured,” said the outspoken, 33-year-old seasoned marathoner at the media conference today.
Mathew picked out Rashpal Singh, last year’s Allahabad Marathon winner in 2:21.03, as among those worth watching.
Among the Services runners in the full marathon is veteran K C Ramu, who is performing a dual role – that of a participant as well as coach to take over from Mathew when the latter retires.