T. Gopi and Monika Athare won the men's and women's titles respectively at the New Delhi Marathon here on Sunday.Gopi clocked a personal best time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 16 seconds while Monica registered 2:43:46."This was an opportunity where I needed to try hard and perform my best. I practiced and performed to my highest capabilities, but missed qualifying for the CWG by hree minutes," Gopi said."Both Nitendra (Rawat) and I were neck-and-neck until nine kilometres, after which I took over. The weather conditions and the route were also quite favourable," he added.Gopi plans to participate in international marathons like the London marathon to qualify for the Asian Games.Nitendra Singh Rawat, who finished second, said: "Usually Gopi and I are head-to-head, but this time my body didn't respond and adapt to the conditions. Despite good weather conditions, I wasn't able to give my best and Gopi took the leap after the ninth kilometre.""After seeing the difference in timing, I decided to follow the endurance run method. I'm not satisfied with my timing, but will work towards improving it to qualify for the Asian Games," he said.In the women's category, Monika won the title for the second consecutive year.
"Last year in Delhi I qualified for the world championship by completing my run in a target time. This year the weather was good, but I could not achieve my target to qualify for the CWG. But I am happy that I completed the full marathon despite my knee injury," Monika said."After 10 kilometres, my knee pain began and I felt the hamstring pull, but it did not hamper my spirit to complete the run. I ran with Jyoti for the first six kilometres. I took a slow start because of my pain, then I gained momentum and started improving my pace. I want to thank my pacer for all his support during the run," she added.In the half marathon, Army runner Kheta Ram, who wanted to run the full marathon, decided to switch to the half marathon on Saturday evening due to health problems.Though he won the half marathon title, he was unhappy with his performance as he felt he hadn't given his best. His illness affected his timing and performance.Kheta and Tirtha Pun ran together until the 20 kilometre mark, and in the last kilometre Kheta Ram took the lead, finishing the half marathon in 1:09:40.Tirtha Pun missed the title by just a second. Deepak Singh stood third, crossing the finish line in 1:13:07.In the women's category, Varsha Devi won the title by completing the race in 1:20:30. Kiran Sachdev was second with 1:21:35.