Nepali runners hopeful

Kathmandu, October 2:

Players from 17 countries are arriving gradually to take part in the Springwood-NRN Kathmandu International Marathon slated for Saturday.

Even so, Nepali players are leading the bid for the title. Nepali international runners, affiliated to Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepali Army, are combating each other for the biggest cash prize in the Nepali sports history.

As top runners Arjun Basnet and Arjun Bahadur Dhakal will not be participating in full marathon, the run for new champion would be an interesting dimension of the event. The 10th SA Games silver medallist Basnet will not take part on the full course because of his recent return from UN Peace-keeping Mission, while Armed Police’s Dhakal is abroad on similar duties.

Arjun Basnet is not totally out of the tournament. He will run in Half Marathon keeping in view his October 14 schedule for Italy Road Race. Half Marathon is rather believed to be a useful part of his preparations for the race.

Taking advantage of their absence, rising athletes Uttam Khatri, Rebat Dahal, Ananda Shrestha, Purna Ranabhat, Narayan Desar and Amar Bahadur Shahi are expected to create a tough contest.

Women’s camp have Everest Marathon winner Yangdi Sherpa and Krishneshwori Sikantkala as the Nepali favourites. Last September, Yangdi proved her talent by finishing second in Italy Road Race. Krishneshwori until now has always been a strong contender in Half Marathon. With Kanchhi Maya Koju missing, police girl Chhaya Khatri fortifies her bid in Half Marathon.