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Gopi aims to qualify for CWG at New Delhi Marathon

109   //    24 Feb 2018, 19:57 IST

New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Reigning Asian champion Gopi Thonakal today said that the weather conditions here will help him qualify for both the Commonwealth and Asian Games when he takes the field to defend his title at the 3rd IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon here tomorrow.

Gopi, who won the Asian Marathon title in China in Novermber last year, is expected to face tough challenge from Olympian Nitendra Singh Rawat and Kheta Ram in the mens category.

Monica Athare and Jyoti Gawate are among the top title contenders in the womens category.

All the four races will be flagged off by face of the event and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, with the full marathon scheduled to start at 4.30am.

In all, 65 elite Indian athletes will take part in the full marathon.

Running for the second consecutive year here, Gopi said, "I've practised a lot for the New Delhi Marathon. Since, I was no't able to give my best timing in Mumbai Marathon, I will try hard to achieve my best timing here.

"The weather and the route in Delhi is always good. I'm sure that the weather conditions will help me get a good timing so that I can qualify for both Commonwealth and Asian Games."

Rawat, who stood second in the full marathon in Mumbai last month, said, "Compared to Mumbai, the route and the weather in Delhi are really good. Our practice session has been good so far and I hope we all qualify for the Commonwealth Games."

Kheta Ram, who stood third in the Half Marathon here last year, will be running the full marathon this time.

"The weather is really favourable in Delhi and will help achieve best timing. The IDBI Federal life insurance New Delhi Marathon is my first full marathon. We all have done hard practice for this marathon," said Kheta Ram.

All three trained together at Ooty, Tamil Nadu and they feel that the Ooty weather is very much like Delhi which will help them achieve their goal.

Monica Athare made her full marathon debut here at the IDBI Federal New Delhi Marathon 2017, and went on to win the title in her maiden attempt.

In her second attempt here, her target is to complete the race with a good qualifying time to make the cut for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

I have prepared myself well, and look forward to making the qualifying mark for CWG, said Athare.

"Although I'm from Mumbai, I enjoy running in Delhi. Both the route and the weather here in Delhi are very good. I feel that the weather will make it favourable for me to make a good timing here, and qualify for the Commonwealth Games. I came second in Mumbai last month and now I am looking for a first position here," said Jyoti Gawate

Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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