Indian athlete, Gopi Thonakal, 29, created history by becoming first Indian man to win Asian Marathon Championships 2017 after he achieved the feat in the 16th edition of the prestigious event on Sunday, 26th November 2017. The Indian athlete clocked 2 hours, 15 minutes and 48 seconds to clinch the gold. Andrey Petrov of Uzbekistan bagged the silver with a timing of 2:15:51s, while Byambalev Tseveenravdan of Mongolia won bronze by clocking 2:16:14s.
“I am proud to have won gold for my country. I am also proud to become the first Indian man to have won a gold in this championship.. .I was confident of clocking a very good time today. I could change gear according the situation of the race. I had a lot in my tank and I feel I could have run a faster time,” Thonakal told after the race.
He is the third Indian overall and first male athlete to have won gold in the event. Asha Agarwal won the women’s title in 1985 when the event was a part of the biennial Asian Track and Field Championships. Sunita Godara won the women’s title in 1992 after the event was moved out as a separate one away from the Asian Athletics Championships in 1988.
The Asian Marathon Championship is a biennial international competition in marathon road running for Asian athletes. It is organized by the Asian Athletics Association. It was established in 1988 after 42.195-kilometre race was dropped from programme of events at Asian Athletics Championships.