•Barsoton will be up against Tariku Bekele as a world indoor champion over 3000m in 2008 and four years later earned 10,000m bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
• Kenyan Born Israeli Lonah Salpeter will be the race favourite in the women's category
2017 World cross silver medallist Leonard Barsoton faces a stern test at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K on December 15.
Barsoton will be up against Tariku Bekele as a world indoor champion over 3,000m in 2008 and four years later earned 10,000m bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In addition, Eritrea’s Tsegay Tuemay and Ethiopia’s Bayelign Yegsaw will return, looking to upset the favourite having finished second in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Daniel Chebii is also a contender for the top prize. The course record of 1:13:48, set when the Ethiopian distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele competed in Kolkata two years ago, is a tall order for any runner, but gives a target for everyone to aim at.
Israel’s Lonah Salpeter will be the race favourite in the women's category.
Salpeter, who will celebrate her 31st birthday just three days before the race in Kolkata, is the European 10,000m champion and has gradually been changing her focus to the roads in recent years. She won the Prague Marathon in May in a stunning national record of 2:19:46, putting her sixth on this year’s world list and third on the European all-time list.
After dropping out of the marathon at the recent World Athletics Championships, she recovered quickly and finished fourth at last month’s Frankfurt Marathon in 2:23:11.
Next month’s race in Kolkata won’t be Salpeter’s first official outing over 25km; she won in Berlin over the distance in 2017 in 1:28.48. However, she had a 25km split of 1:23:25 during her Prague Marathon win and if Salpeter is in anything close to this shape she could make huge inroads into the Kolkata course record of 1:26:01 set by Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw in 2017.