Basnet, Pachhai clinch marathon gold medalsKrishna Basnet of Tribhuvan Army Club and Rajpura Pachhai of Nepal Police Club claimed marathon gold medals at the eighth National Games in Dang on Monday.
Krishna Basnet of Tribhuvan Army Club and Rajpura Pachhai of Nepal Police Club claimed marathon gold medals at the eighth National Games in Dang on Monday.
Basnet clocked 2 hours 17 minutes 33 seconds to complete the 42.195km men’s race while Pachhai finished the course in 2:59:38 to win women’s title. It was the first time the duo had won marathon gold at the National Games that finished at the Beljhundi Stadium with the final one lap at the synthetic track.
In winning the men’s marathon, Basnet also lowered his personal best timings which had been 2:20:51 set during the CoAS Marathon on March 2. Basnet had faced stiff challenge from Durga Budha of Karnali Province until the 39km. But Budha, who clocked 1:18:39 to secure silver, fell behind after that. It was the third medal for Budha, who had already won the 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver. Khim Bahadur Khatri of APF finished third with the timings of 2:22:10.
“I am pleased to lower my mark,” said the 36-year-old who decided to participate only in last moment considering the gap between the last marathon and the one here was two short. “I only competed here thinking it would be a preparatory event for South Asian Games,” he said. Basnet criticised the race route despite winning the gold.
“Parts of the route were bumpy and in a bad shape. Such obstacles make huge difference in overall outcome of the race. But I am happy to overcome all odds to win the race,” he said. The marathon route was only finalised two days earlier. The race started from Beljhundi Stadium en route to Gwarkhola, Dodhariya, Sri Gaun, Kumalgadhi and Hemantapur before finishing at the starting point.
Budha said he lost his momentum and pace after being momentarily blinded by an insect that got into his eyes. “I was in good position to win the race as I was running at a good pace. Unfortunately that did not happen,” said Budha. Of the 14 participants in men’s event, only 11 completed the race.
Pachhai, a silver medallist in the 10,000m race, faced a tough competition from APF athlete Pushpa Bhandari, who secured silver. Bhandari clocked 3:00:59 while bronze medalist Sarita Basi of Army finished in 3:08:30. Kanchi Maya Koju, one of the favourites in the race, did not compete in the women’s marathon due to her poor health after the death of her father. All six participants in the women’s marathon completed the race.
Pachhai said: “I went along with the plan and eventually won the race.” Rajpura believed that her timing would have been even better had Koju been in the field.” Pachhai had almost deserted athletics after getting married in March last year. But she was coaxed into making a comeback by coach Raghu Raj Onta. She is now thankful for the coach, saying: “I have almost left the game for good but coach Onta’s training and my hard work paid off,” said Pachhai.
Like Basnet, Pachhai also lashed out of the pathetic marathon route. Police coach Onta also joined forces to criticise the poor route. “Players were made to run with the traffic. Part of a road section were not just dusty but also is poor shape. The dusty section was choking the athletes,” said Onta.