Mumbai, Jan 17 (IANS) Following her victory in the Indian women’s category at the Mumbai Marathon here, long distance runner Sudha Singh said she will go by the advice of her Belarusian coach Nikolai Snesarev before deciding on her participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics later in the year.

 Sudha, who came third last year with a timing of two hours, 42 minutes and 11 seconds, came up with a dominating show this time to be the top Indian woman in the race and clock a better time of 2:39:28. Sudha finished seventh overall. Lalita Babar, who held the second spot in the last year’s edition, came second this year with a timing of 2:41:55.

She finished 10th overall. In the third position was defending champion O.P. Jaisa (2:43:26) from Kerala, who is the current national record holder (2:37:29) — a feat she achieved here last year. With the cut-off mark to qualify for the Olympics being two hours 45 minutes for women, it meant all Sudha, Lalita and Jaisa automatically qualified for the Rio Games. 

Sudha also said she wants to qualify for steeplechase too for Rio and wants her coach to decide which event she will participate in. “For the last two years we have been training for the marathon without any breaks. I have not done any steeplechase event for one year because I am confident of qualifying. I feel I should listen to what the coach decides for me,” Sudha told media persons after the event.

The trio also pointed out that the heat and humid in the city was a challenging factor after their training in high altitude at Ooty. “I am concentrating on the 3,000 metre steeplechase only. I have however benefited by running the marathon. It was very hot out there. We trained in Ooty in cold climate and the heat here was too much,” Lalita said. “This is my last marathon. I will try and qualify for the 1,500m and 5,000m in Rio,” Jaisa said.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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