Kohima: Ethiopian athlete Mikiyas Yemata won the eight edition of the Hornbill Half Marathon held near the Civil Secretariat in Kohima on Sunday. He crossed the finish-line in 1 hour 12 minutes 51 seconds. The event was organised by 3E Nagaland as part of the ongoing Hornbill Festival and was officiated and certified by the Nagaland Athletics Officials Club (NAOC).
I Mosa Chang, who was the winner of the previous edition, came second with a timing of 1 hour 13 minutes and 16 seconds. Hempao M won the third place.
Twenty-six-year old Yemata earlier won the Bangaluru Marathon and Tura Half Marathon, among many others. It was his first time competing in the 21.097-km Hornbill Half Marathon. Sharing his experience, Yemata said: "It's nice, but very difficult to compete because of the high altitude and the route is very difficult. The athletes here are very strong."
Yemata expressed his desire to compete again next year. "I'll do training in hilly places and come, else it's very difficult". On his training, he said "I am in a sports club in Ethiopia and every day I run 12 to 13 km in the morning and 7 to 8 km in the evening." He aims to compete in the next Summer Olympics.
Altogether, 133 runners participated in the competition including three from Ethiopia. The champion received a cash prize of Rs 50,000. The second, third and fourth place winners received Rs 20,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5000, respectively, including certificates.