Yadav gets Olympic berth

By: Anita Balsara, Vogue+ Bureau, Mumbai | January 15, 2012

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(Pics: Sunil Sunder Kirpalani)

It was great day for Indian long distance running on Sunday, as former three-time champion Ram Singh Yadav clocked a life time personal best of 2:16:59 to make the qualifying ‘B Standard’ for the London Olympics and set a new Indian course record while winning the race for Indians in the 9th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012.

The super fast elite athlete field for men and women also came up with strong performances in the IAAF Gold label event, with the women breaking the existing course record and the men finishing just outside of it, albeit in a sprint finish.

Kenyan Laban Moiben won the men’s event in 2:10:48, breasting the tape a fraction of a second ahead of Ethiopian Raji Assefa after a sprint finish, while the third place went to Kenyan John Kyui, who stopped the clock at Ethiopian Netsanet Abeyo ran a strong and aggressive race to leave the field far behind, winning in 2:26:12, a new course record, and also led an Ethiopian clean sweep.

A sensitive Yadav told Vogue+ after becoming the top Indian finisher in the event that he was very hurt four years ago following the lack of support he received from all concerned, especially the Athletics Federation of India.

I have been striving to make the Olympic berth since 2004. I was very hurt in 2008 when I was not supported enough when I missed by just three seconds to qualify (for Beijing Olympics). I am not running for my country any more but for my family only,” concluded the sportsman.