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.