The world’s fastest men and women have arrived in the city to participate in the elite men’s and women’s field at the 9th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) scheduled to be flagged off from opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on January 15, 2012. Procam International, promoters of the marathon conducted a meet & greet session in the SCMM Media Centre at Marathi Patrakar Sangh today.
International athletes William Kipsang from Kenya and Ethiopian Fatuma Sado, part of the spoke to the media about their training schedules and views about the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
William Kipsang is the fastest in the men’s field with a personal best of 2:05.49 while Luke Kibet is a former world champion with a best of 2:08:52.
The Ethiopians and Kenyans will renew their rivalry once again, with Siraj Gena leading a talented bunch of Ethiopians and the Kenyan challenge will be spear headed by names like Laban Moiben, Bernard Kosgei, and Kibet & Kipsang. Moldovan Iaroslav Musinschi participating with a timing of 2:08.32 clocked in May 2010 is the fastest European of 2010.
During his interaction William Kipsang mentioned, “I am happy to be here. Last couple of years my training has been going well. The hamstring injury also has been healing and I am hoping to clock 2:10 this time. ”
While the men’s field has 9 Gold Label athletes, with personal bests of below 2:10, the women’s field has 7 such athletes, with personal bests of below 2:30. Makda Harun, who at the Venice Marathon had run a fast 2:27.30 in October 2011, and Fatuma Sado, who came in second at the Istanbul Marathon with a best of 2:28:01 in 2011 will be leading the Ethiopian charge.
According to Ian Ladbroke, Elite Athlete co-coordinator stated “This year is the strongest field ever in the men’s category. Change in course will hopefully beneficial to our athletes and if they weather gods are kind to us, we will see some good records.”
Already the richest marathon in Asia, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011 will now offer an enhanced prize purse of USD 340,000, an increase of USD 15,000 over what was on offer last year.
The increase in prize money is in keeping with the stature of the event, tagged as amongst the top ten marathons in the world and hopes to attract an even more illustrious field of elite athletes.
The performance of athletes participating in this Marathon will be considered for selection and participation in international marathons, including the London Olympics 2012. With the course records going below 2:10 for men and 2:30 for women for the first time last year in eight years, the focus this time has been to assemble a field that will make a serious assault on further lowering these marks and going by the current field and if the weather is kind, that seems a strong possibility.