Mon, Nov 05, 2001 - Page 16 News List

Kotov's charge wins Taipei Marathon

FINAL EFFORT Taking turns at the front, Vladimir Kotov and Konstantin Permintin duelled down the finishing straight for victory, with Kotov just edging the Russian runner

By Jeffrey Wilson  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Runners complete a lap around Taipei City Hall before setting off through the city streets in the Taipei International Marathon yesterday. Vladimir Kotov of Belarus won the race.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Vladimir Kotov of Belarus out-sprinted Konstantin Permintin of Russia in a final lap around the Taipei City Hall to break the tape at the 2001 Taipei International Marathon yesterday.

Kotov finished in a time of two hours, 21 minutes and 37 seconds, nine second faster than Permintin.

"I'm happy because I'm a three-time winner," said Kotov, who also won in Taipei in 1998 and 1999.

"I asked Konstantin before the race that we change the lead each kilometer to protect us from the strong wind. He agreed," said the 46-year-old Kotov. "With 400m to go I made my move and he did not respond. I was surprised and kept looking back for him."

Kotov said he was not discouraged by his relatively slow time.

"Today I ran only for the win. It was humid and I have another marathon on Nov. 25 in Bangkok," he said, referring to his attempt to defend his title at the Bangkok Marathon.

Taiwan's Wu Wen-yuen (吳文騫) finished yesterday's marathon an impressive third place in a time of 2:25:12.

The 23-year-old Taipei resident continued the form that saw him win four gold medals at last month's Taiwan National Games, in the 1,500m, the 5,000m, the 3,000m steeplechase and the marathon.

The women's race followed a similar pattern to the men with Russian Larissa Zousko pulling away from Violette Uryga of Poland in the final kilometers to win.

Zousko, in her first marathon since giving birth in August last year, edged the Pole by 27 seconds, in a time of 2:31.06. Taiwan's top female finisher was Chen Shu-hua in a time of 2:57:29.

Both Zousko and Kotov earned NT$100,000 for their wins.

The race was the first attempt since 1989 to stage a marathon on Taipei's city streets, and the first ever to venture outside the city core, including a loop through Tashih and Neihu.

Recent Taipei marathons had been staged off Chungshan Freeway.

Over 10,000 people turned out to participate in the marathon, and races over 19.6km, 11km, and 3km.

Kotov said that he enjoyed the new course and race organization.

"It was a good road today. Super. No problems. Every time we were given directions on the course, there was no problem," he said.

While the front-runners did not encounter traffic problems, those behind found that there were many more frustrated and impatient motorists and motorcyclists than cheering fans along the route.

The 625 police officers deployed to block intersections at times found themselves pitted between angry motorists and runners, at times unwilling or unable to prevent traffic from crossing the route during pre-arranged intervals.

Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who led the effort to create the new course, responded favorably to an inquiry whether the race would be able to remain on the city streets in the future.

"I hope so," said Ma after completing the 19.6km race in 1:57.11. "I think that [the local reaction] was very enthusiastic."

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