New Delhi [India], November 12 (ANI): Defending champions Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemecu will return to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) in the 16th edition of the showpiece event on November 29.
The Ethiopian pair will be aiming for an unprecedented third successive victory in the national capital.
"I have been training well in (the Ethiopia capital) Addis Ababa for the last couple of months and I am very thankful to have the opportunity to race in Delhi, a city I always enjoy returning to and racing in," said Belihu in an official statement.
"This has been a difficult year, for everyone around the world, not just professional athletes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I have been training alone much more than that I am normally used to but my fifth place at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland last month has assured me that I am in good shape and I am confident I can put up a good defence of my title," he added.
Belihu's compatriot Guye Adola still holds the ADHM course record with 59:06 that the latter clocked in 2014 but Belihu has gone very close in the last two years with 59:18 and a personal best 59:10 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Last year, Tsehay Gemechu improved her own women's course record from 2018 by no less than 50 seconds when she ran a stunning personal best of 66:00
"COVID-19 is a disaster which has affected everyone's life all over the globe and, definitely, it has affected my training, not least in the early stages of the pandemic when we were all fearful of infection. Later, my coach and I decided to take care of ourselves, taking into account all the advice from the World Health Organisation, and I started my own individual training programme with my main goal of coming back to Delhi, although since September I have had some races on the track," she said.
"Like all the athletes who will be coming to Delhi, I'd like to express my thanks to the race promoters Procam International who have committed their time and effort and invested their money in making sure this race goes ahead while we all respect the appropriate health measures," Gemechu added.
Two other men to watch out will be the Ethiopian pair of Amdework Walelegn, who was second in Delhi last year and also took the bronze medal at the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, and 2017 and 2019 world 5000m champion Muktar Edris, who will be making his half-marathon debut. (ANI)