New Delhi Marathon 2024: Heartbreak For Champion Gopi Thonakal As He Fails To Make Paris Cut

Gopi Thonakal won the elite men's race in New Delhi Marathon 2024 but failed to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games


(Photo: Instagram)
Gopi Thonakal wins the 2024 New Delhi Marathon title on February 25, Sunday. (Photo: Instagram)

Gopi Thonakal's worst fear came true on Sunday, February 25. The former Asian campion won the New Delhi Marathon title but failed to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games 2024. (More Sports News)

The 35-year-old army man had earlier admitted that it would be "very tough' for Indian runners to make it to the Paris Games. "This qualifying timing (of the Paris Olympics) is very tough for Indian marathon runners, he said on the eve of the Delhi Marathon 2024, which also served as one of the Olympic qualifiers, in the national capital.

The Paris Olympics marathon qualifying window is from November 6, 2022 to May 5, 2024. So far, there is no Indian listed in the World Athletics' 'Road to Paris' chart.


For the record, Gopi made it to the 2016 Rio Olympics when the qualifying time was 2:19. The qualifying time was 2:11:30 for the Tokyo Olympics before the World Athletics made it 2:08:10 for the Paris showpiece.

"We are hoping to get through (the Olympics) via rankings where an average is calculated from five competitions over around two years," the athlete from Wayanad in Kerala added.

On Sunday, he clocked 2 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds to cover 42.195km and won the men's elite race. But his timing was well outside the Paris Games qualifying time of 2:08:10.

Gopi, who had also won the title in the 2017 edition, was evidently below his personal best (2:13:39). His timing was also below the national record of 2:12:00 which has been standing in the name of Shivnath Singh since 1978.


Srinu Bugatha, who won the 2021 edition title, finished second in 2:14:41, while Akshay Saini was third with a time of 2:15:27.

Ashwini Madan Jadhav won the women's elite race, clocking 2:52:25, while Thakor Nirmaben Bharatjee (2:55:47) and Divyanka Chaudhary (2:57:06) were second and third, respectively.

Nearly 100 athletes competed in the event which was held under the aegis of the Athletics Federation of India. The course passed some of the city's iconic landmarks such as Humayun's Tomb, Lodhi Garden and Khan Market.

(With PTI Inputs)