Kenyans steal the show at Darjeeling half marathon
Darjeeling: Kenyans ruled in the Darjeeling Police Marathon. Both the first prizes in the men's and women's categories were bagged by the Kenyans.
The Darjeeling police organizes a half marathon every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. This year it was the 6th edition.
The 21 km marathon starts from Sukhipokhari and ends at Darjeeling Chowrasta via Darjeeling Zoo. The men's general category award was won by Noah Kemey and the women's by Christine Kambua Muyana. The 30-year-old, Kemey, completed the 21 km in 1 hour 8 minutes and 42 seconds beating Shankar Man Thapa of 1/5 Gorkha Rifles, Siliguri, who completed the marathon in 1 hour 9 minutes and 38 seconds.
The 27-year-old Christina Kambua Muyanga completed the stretch in 1 hour 23 minutes and 48 seconds beating Kiranjeet Kaur of BSF, Punjab, who completed the marathon in 1 hour 25 minutes 10 seconds. The first prize included a cheque of Rs1 lakh 50 thousand, second prize Rs 75,000 and third Rs 50,000 for the general categories.
There were special categories including local participants; police and civic volunteers. Prabal Chettri from Kalimpong bagged the first prize of Rs. 25,000 in the local category. Manas Das from Kolkata Police also won Rs. 25,000 in the police category.
The Terrain did not pose much challenge to the Kenyan runners but the biting cold did. "The terrain of the marathon route is quite as same in Kenya but it was very cold which caused a bit of problem," stated Kemey.
This was his first marathon in India. Prior to this, he participated in marathons in Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany and Brazil.
Cristina found the competitors strong. "I faced stiff competition," she added. This is her second marathon in India and the first in Darjeeling.
Braving the morning chill, thousands lined up along the route to cheer up the runners. "There were more than 3,000 participants this time. This marathon is definitely growing important. There were many African runners. We will definitely raise the bar from the next edition," stated Akhilesh Chaturvedi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.
There were cultural shows as well. Ace runner Jinson Johnson and Swastima Khadka, a popular actress from Nepal, were present at the event. "Hill people have good physical endurance and are natural runners. Parents should encourage their wards to take up sports if they are interested. However, there should be adequate infrastructure like trainers and gyms to produce good sportsmen," stated Johnson, the Asian Gold medalist.