Mumbai, Jan 17:
On a high after setting the new Mumbai Marathon course record of 2:15:48 for an Indian, long distance runner Nitendra Singh Rawat on Sunday thanked his coach for putting him though intense training in the national camp at Ooty which eventually helped him set the mark.
Rawat, who qualified for the Rio Olympics at the World Military Games last year, broke the previous Indian course record of 2:16.59 hours set by fellow armyman Ram Singh Yadav in 2012.
“I was personally confident after the training we had been put through in the national camp at Ooty by our coach (Surinder Singh) Bhandari. I have to thank him. It feels good (to set a new course record),” Rawat said at a press conference here.
Gopi T. finished in 2:16:15 to come second among the Indians while Kheta Ram finishing in 2:17:23 came out third.
The cut-off mark to qualify for the Olympics is two hours 19 minutes for men which the three armymen completed at ease.
“I was told to set the pace for others till the 30km mark but I felt good and decided to continue. It feels pretty good to finish the race. This is my first marathon and I have come out second here. Nothing can get better than this,” the Kerala-born Gopi said.
“The hard work done over the last few months in Ooty has helped. I wanted to better the old course record, but it did not happen,” the Rajasthan-born Kheta said.
Both Kheta Ram and Gopi stressed that they were basically track runners and would try to qualify for the 5,000m and 10,000m for the Rio Games.
At the Olympics, only three athletes per country are allowed to take part in a single event. (IANS)