A super-fast men's international elite field, with 12 athletes having sub-60 minute personal bests, is set to vie for top honours in an intense competition in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon here on Sunday, with the existing course record in danger of being obliterated.
The organisers of the ADHM today announced the men's and women's field for the event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with some of the top international stars present.
Defending champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Ezekiel Chebii, who recently clocked 51.05 while winning at Lille and is ranked third in the world, expressed their readiness to have a go at the course record of 59.15, which stands in the name of Deriba Merga.
With the temperature expected to drop in the coming days, the athletes did not seem too worried about the weather, given that the men's race is slated to start at 6.30 am.
"I hope that the weather remains cool on Sunday, then I will be able to break my previous mark and attempt the course record, said Lelisa Desisa, who clocked 59.30 minutes last year," he said.
Desisa will have to contend with an in-form and confident Ezekiel Chebii, who recently made the athletics world take notice of him with a blistering run of 59.05 while winning at Lille on September 1.
"I am competing with these Ethiopians for the first time. They are very tough competitors and will run a strong race. Since this is my first visit to India, I want to do well in this race and am confident and in good shape," said Chebii.
The other Ethiopian Chebii was referring to was Atsedu Tsegay, who clocked this year's fastest time of 58.34 while winning at Prague. Tsegay too is expected to run a very fast race, with an eye not only on the course record, but on the world record held by Eritrean Zersenay Tadese.