The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon field comprises world champions and world record holders. Avinash Sable will lead the charge for India. Watch ADHM live.
Defending champions in both the men’s and women’s categories of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will be eyeing an unprecedented hat-trick when the 2020 edition of the race gets underway on Sunday.
In the men’s half, Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu has been the undisputed champion over the past two races. Among women, his compatriot Tsehay Gemechu has ruled the roost with her commanding performances.
Last year, Andamlak Belihu even came close to breaking the course record. However, the Ethiopian fell short by four seconds after a back pain just ahead of the finish forced the 22-year-old to slow down and settle for the race in 59:10. The course record is held by fellow Ethiopian Guye Adola with 59:06, set in 2014.
Challenging Belihu on Sunday will be a two-time world champion on the track, Muktar Edris.
The 26-year-old Edris is one of the finest 5000m runners with world titles in 2017 and 2019. On Sunday, he will be hoping for a memorable race as he gets down to work on his debut road race at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
“I am not looking for anything more than a satisfying performance. I want to give my best and have a great time on Sunday,” Edris said.
In the women’s category at ADHM 2020, champion Tsehay Gemechu will have her task cut out with the world record holders in both marathon and the half marathon making up the field.
The ADHM race promoters have pulled out all the stops to assemble a quality field that includes the likes of Brigid Kosgei and Ababel Yeshaneh this time.
Kenyan Brigid Kosgei comes into Sunday’s race on the back of a commanding show at the London Marathon last month, a race where she defended her title.
Ababel Yeshaneh has been in good touch too. The Ethiopian distance runner began her season by rewriting the women’s half marathon world record for a mixed-gender race in Ras al Khaimah. Later, Ababel Yeshaneh did well for a fifth-place finish at the World Half Marathon Championships last month despite tumbling with just over three kilometres to go.
Among Indians, the focus will be on Tokyo Olympics-bound Avinash Sable, who returns to competitive racing post the pandemic. Having made the cut for 3000m steeplechase at the Tokyo Games, the Indian hopes to use Sunday’s race to work on his endurance.
“Both steeplechase and half marathons are tests of endurance. I have worked on my speed, strength and hurdle technique. I know we will not get many competitions before the Olympics so I have to work harder to improve,” the 26-year-old Avinash Sable said.
Given the prevailing COVID-19 situation in India’s national capital, the race organisers have decided to tweak the route to comply with the safety guidelines laid down by the local authorities.
On Sunday, the 2020 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will begin from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and head towards Rajpath via Archbishop Makarios Marg that will see the runners cover around 4.5 kilometres.
At the Rajpath, the athletes will complete two loops of approximately six kilometres before heading back to the stadium for the finish.
“With smoother corners, fewer undulations and with the elite runners not having to contend with mass-race participants, I believe this is a faster course than previous years,” ADHM race director Hugh Jones hoped.
The elite men’s race at the 2020 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will begin at 7:10 AM IST while the women will hit the Delhi streets at 8:40 AM IST.
The 2020 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will be broadcast live and exclusively on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD TV channels.
Live streaming of ADHM will be available on the Disney+ Hotstar platform.