It's Kipsang vs rest for Mumbai Marathon honours

Kenyans will renew their rivalry with the Ethiopians for the top honours in the ninth edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon today. While Kenyans have a strong field of athletes that includes favourite William Kipsang in the ranks, Ethiopians will be banking on only five athletes.

William Kipsang at the media centre. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Kipsang, who clocked his personal best of 2:05:49 in  the 2008 Rotterdam Marathon, will face stern competition from compatriot Luke Kibet, 2007 World Champion in Osaka.

Ethiopia's Siraj Gena, runners-up of the last Mumbai Marathon, can give Kipsang a run for his money. Moldovan Iaroslav Musinschi, with a personal best of 2:08.32, could be the dark horse.

SUNDAY MiD DAY speaks to top athletes on Kipsang's chances of winning today:

* Kenya's Luke Kibet (Best time: 2:08:52 in 2005 in Eindhoven): It is tough to predict. Personally, I feel Kenyans will dominate the men's field. William has a fair chance to win.

* Tanzania's Dickson Marwa: I'm a pace-setter here and I do not finish the marathon. If the athletes
finish the 15-km mark in 44 minutes, then there is a possibility of a 2:08 finish. William has a great opportunity to do it.

* Ethiopia's Asha Gigi (Best time: 2:26:05 in 2004 Paris Marathon): I am hoping for an all-Ethiopian podium finish in the women's, but in the men's, I want Siraj Gena
to win.

* Ethiopia's Makda Harun (Best time: 2:27.30 in Venice last year): I am hoping an Ethiopian wins in men's. There are also some good Kenyans in the fray.

* Ethiopia's Siraj Gena (Best time: 2:08:31 in Frankfurt last year): It'll be difficult to maintain my best timing, as the weather is hot and humid here. I am hoping to win the title though. The Kenyans have a talented bunch and William can come close to winning.


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