World record holder Brigid Kosgei and Ababel Yeshaneh will participate in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM), the governing body announced on Saturday.
At the Chicago Marathon in October 2019, Kenya's Kosgei stunned the world when she broke the long-standing women's world marathon record by more than a minute, clocking 2:14:04.
Yeshaneh was a distant second on that occasion but nevertheless still ran a superb personal best of 2:20:51.
However, the tables were turned at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February this year when a head-to-head contest between the pair in the final stages of the race saw Ethiopia's Yeshaneh prevail in a world record 64:31 with Kosgei second in 64:49.
In their most recent outings last month, the 26-year-old Kosgei won the rescheduled London Marathon in 2:18:58 while the 29-year-old Yeshaneh had to contend with misfortune and fell at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland, with just over three kilometres remaining, which took her out of medal contention although she recovered quickly to finish fifth.
"Sport has always been a symbol of optimism, and we look forward to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on Nov. 29. We extend our full support to this event that is India's pride and welcome the world's best athletes to our capital city," Minister Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said in an official statement.
"The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is representative of a healthier and fitter nation and reinforces the vision of the Fit India movement. I would encourage each and every one of you to participate from the safety & security of your own surroundings," he added.
The 16th edition of the marathon is scheduled to take place on November 29 in New Delhi.
While the elite runners will be at the start line at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, amateurs across the world will join the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon using the new Airtel Delhi Half Marathon Mobile App. The participants can run from the convenience of their own location, anytime between November 25 and November 29.
The governing body on Thursday had announced India's only individual Olympic gold medalist, Abhinav Bindra, as the event ambassador for the 16th edition.
"The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is a historic moment post the start of the pandemic. This is a very important event. We have slowly seen sports resume in different parts of the world and now it's wonderful to see that we will have ADHM happening in Delhi," Abhinav Bindra, Olympic Gold Medallist and ADHM 2020 Event Ambassador said.
"I must commend the orgsers for showing the courage and determination to conduct the event in extremely challenging times. It's also wonderful to see the innovation that the event is introducing to get people together. This event will be the benchmark for all tournaments that will be held in the future," he added.
After an illustrious career, Bindra retired from shooting post the Rio Olympics in 2016. However, the 38-year-old is not done with sports just yet. Through the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, the now-entrepreneur looks to bring Global Best Practice to the Indian Sporting Landscape and also encourages physical excellence with data-driven physiotherapy through ABTP.
( With inputs from ANI )
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