Olivera Jevtic did not disappoint her ‘home’ fans, when she won the 20th Belgrade Banca Intesa Marathon, in 2:35:46 on Saturday morning, but she did herself no favours, for she ran over half the race with an obvious ankle injury, and hobbled through the finish line.
The Serbian European silver medallist took the lead in the women’s race right from the start, and was going well through the first 10 kilometres, at a pace which would have bought her home in around 2:30. But the injury started to show, and she slowed to accommodate it. But she was never threatened by her Russian opponents, Oxana Kuzmincheva, who finished second in 2:37:41, and Yelena Kozhevnikova, who was third in 2:38:14.
Despite the pain, Jevtic forges on
Jevtic, who is the only Serbian athlete already selected for the Beijing Olympics in a year’s time, said, “I had a pain in my left leg for the last 15 days, it was caused by the change in climate. I’ve been training in Kenya, and when I returned to Serbia, it was colder, and that brought it on. I had pain all the time, from the very start. I thought about dropping out, but I just could not, because of the wonderful support I was a getting, the fans were with me all the way”.
Jevtic, who began her career in the Half-Marathon at this event in 1993, will go to Italy for treatment, in the hope of readying herself to compete in the IAAF World Championships in Osaka at the end of August.
Maluni takes narrow win over Chelimo - Men's race
The battle of the celebrity coaches was won in a pesonal best of 2:11:53, by John Maluni of Kenya on behalf of Cosmas Ndeti, the three-time Boston Marathon winner. Maluni had a race-long struggle with colleague, Nicholas Chelimo, who is coached by world record holder, Paul Tergat. Maluni only got away in the last 100 metres, to win by three seconds, and he crossed the finish line into the embrace of Ndeti, who coaches him in their home province of Machakos. Chelimo also posted a personal best, with 2:11:56 in second place.
Maluni said, “At 35k, I felt strong, and that’s when I thought I could win. I went clear of Nicholas with 200m remaining. The weather was perfect (16C), and my ambition now that I’ve won my first Marathon is to keep winning.” Said Chelimo, “I felt strong, but not strong enough, I need to add more training.”
The finish tape was held by world record long jumpers, Bob Beamon and Mike Powell, who were the marathon guests, and held seminars for young athletes during the days before the Marathon.
Pat Butcher for the IAAF
1. John Maluni, KEN 2.11.53
2. Nicholas Chelimo, KEN 2.11.56
3. John Kioko, KEN 2.13.30
4. Andrew Sambu, TAN 2.14.52
5. Andrew Silvini, TAN 2.14.56
6. Wilson Chepkwony, KEN 2.14.59
7. Sowa Arkadiusz, POL 2.15.09
8. John Cherutich, KEN 2.17.23
9. Adam Draczynski, POL 2.17.24
10. Nickson Rugut, KEN 2.19.54
1. Olivera Jevtic, SRB 2.35.46
2. Oxana Kuzmincheva, RUS 2.37.41
3. Yelena Kozhevnikova, RUS 2.38.14
4. Karina Perez Delgado, MEX 2.40.36
5. Lene Katrin Duus, DEN 2.48.08
6. Venera Samsonova, RUS 2.50.25