Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 Results- Why East African athletes dominateFitho
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Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 Results- Why East African athletes dominate

This year Ethiopian runners won the event, for both men and women. The top 10 finishers for both men and women were dominated by international runners from Kenya and Ethiopia. Wonder why they produce the best long distance runners in the world? Read on to find out.


1. Deriba Merga (ETH) 59:15 (new event record)
2. Wilson Kipsang (Ken) 59:16
3. Wilson Chebet (KEN) 59:34
4. Regassa Tilahun (Jr/ETH) 1:00:28
5. Tadesse Tola (ETH) 1:00:45
6. Dieudonne Disi (RWA) 1:00:47
7. Kiplimo Kimutai (KEN) 1:00:58
8. Joseph Maregu (KEN) 1:01:03
9. Eshetu Wondimu (ETH) 1:01:04
10. William Chebon Chebor (KEN) 1:01:17

Overall Women
1. Asefelech Mergia (ETH) 1:08:17
2. Genet Getanah (ETH) 1:08:18
3. Peninah Arusei (KEN) 1:08:20
4. Atsede Habtamu (ETH) 1:09:37
5. Ashim Kasim (ETH) 1:10:19
6. Tiki Gelana (ETH) 1:10:22
7. Pauline Njeri (KEN) 1:10:23
8. Mare Dibaba (ETH) 1:10:28
9. Pauline Wangui (KEN) 1:10:36
10. Tigist Tufa (ETH) 1:10:41

Best Indians runners:

1. Sandeep Kumar 1:04:48
2. Kashinath Aswale 1:04:52
3. Deep Chand 1:04:56
4. Irrappa Akki 1:05:07
5. Surendra Singh 1:05:28
6. Lengoi Binning 1:05:28

1. Kavita Raut 1:17: 12
2. Preethi L Rao 1:17:20
3. Sudha Singh 1:17:39
4. Vivek Suba 1:18:02
5. Kiran Tiwari 1:21:51
6. Manjusha C. A. 1:23:21

World over, Kenyan runners have dominated the long distance running scene. Wonder why? There are a number of theories on this. The vast majority of Kenya’s brightest running stars were born and raised at high altitude. Running at higher elevations builds greater lung capacity, because athletes grow accustomed to the thinner air. Many of the finest runners, for example, hail from the hilly region surrounding Eldoret, about 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. This area also possesses a fairly mild climate that allows for year-round running. If altitude alone determined distance-running success, of course, then Nepalese marathoners would dominate. So, perhaps a more important factor is the nation’s running culture, particularly among the Kalenjin tribe. Though Kalenjins represent just 12 percent of Kenya’s population, they comprise about three-quarters of the nation’s elite runners.

Besides the culture of this particular tribe, there is another factor- there are two kinds of muscle fibers in the body- fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscles are the ones that are used for short bursts of powerful movements. Slow twitch muscles are the ones that are used for exertion over long sustained time periods. East Africans are born with a 70-75 percent of slow twitch muscle fibers.

At the end of the day, victory goes beyond your genes. Its a lot of hard work and training that goes into it. But when you reach the level of elite athletes, genetic differences can give you the edge.

Either way, we need to find those genes that can help Indians excel in sport :)

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