Lalita Babar sets a new national record in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon
Indian athlete Lalita Babar on Sunday set a new national record while competing in and winning the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. Clocking 1:10.52, Lalita broke a 7-year-old record in the Elite Women category, while also becoming India’s fastest ever half marathon runner.
This hasn’t been the only instance of success for her, as she had had a truly remarkable 2015. In September, she had set a new meet record in the 3000m steeplechase heat at the 2015 National Open Athletics Championships.
Earlier in August, she became the first Indian woman to reach the finals of a track event at the World Athletics Championship, when she broke the national record in the 3000m steeplechase event.
Also, in June, she won the gold in the same event at the Asian Athletics Championship, and in the process qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She had also clinched the bronze medal in the same event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She has also won the Mumbai Marathon on three successive occasions between 2012 and 2014.
Lalita, along with OP Jaisha and Sudha Singh, also broke the Delhi Half Marathon course record that was set 7 years back in 2008 by Kavita Rout. Kavita had then clocked 1:17:12 to set the record, while Jaisha and Sudha clocked 1:11:43, and 1:11:46 respectively.
In the Indian Elite Men category, Nitender Singh Rawat clinched the Gold medal by clocking 1:04:41 while Gopi T and Mohammad Yunus clocked 1:04:45 and 1:04:46 to clinch the silver and bronze medals respectively.
While Lalita finished 8th in the finals of the World Athletics Championship, she has high hopes for the Rio 2016 Olympics. In an interview with Sportskeeda she revealed her plans for the Olympics as well as her journey that took her to glory.
“I think to win an Olympic medal one has to clock 9:10, something which is not beyond me. I just hope I stay injury-free and keep training hard and get adequate international competition exposure in the run up to the Olympics and if all goes to plan, I can do wonders for the country” said Lalita, who also said that the 2015 IAAF finals was a huge learning experience for her.