Ethiopian Ayelech Negussie has won the inaugural Sangai Run International Half Marathon / Photo: Organisers

The Ethiopian duo of Assefa Hunde and Ayelech Negussie has won the inaugural Sangai Run International Half Marathon that took place in the Indian state of Manipur on November 19, 2017.

Assefa won the men’s race in 1:08:35 while Ayelech topped the women’s line up in 1:23:56 in a race that was run around the Loktak Lake, one of the rarest floating lakes in the world.

More than 2000 athletes participated in the race that was organised by Oorep Sports on behalf of the Manipur government with the backing of the Athletics Association of Manipur. The race was flagged off by Manipur State Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

Men’s race winner Assefa was delighted at his victory after arriving in the city a day before the race.

“I am happy about the race,” said Assefa. “I expected to run faster in the Sangai race because I did 1 hour and 5 mins in Addis Ababa a few weeks ago during the Addis Ababa Half Marathon. The course was very flat and it's possible to do lower than 61 mins here. I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me.”

Ethiopian Assefa Hunde winning the inaugural Sangai Run International Half Marathon / Photo: Organisers

Ethiopian Assefa Hunde winning the inaugural Sangai Run International Half Marathon / Photo: Organisers

Women’s winner Ayelech declared: “It was an easy race. I went out early and was able to maintain the pace until the finish. I think the Sangai course is flat and easy to run fast times in the future.”

The Sangai Run is a part of the Sangai Festival that continues over the next few days and it offers tourists and runners an opportunity to discover the tourism potentials of the region.

“Coming here, I didn't know a lot about Manipur. After the race, we attended the festival and I enjoyed the show with the live cultural show. I have not seen something like this in another road race before. Overall, it was a good experience and I thank the organizers for the invitation,” said Ayelech.

Race organiser Ajanta Moirangthem said it was the culmination of a lot of hard work over the last three months.

“We are happy to have held a successful maiden Sangai Run and we thank the support of the Chief Minister of Manipur and other government officials as well as our partners that supported the race,” said Moirangthem.