Agnes Tirop shatters women’s course record by monstrous 29 seconds

The two others who followed her on to the podium, Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi and Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui, also clocked timings under the previous best (31:48) set by Lucy Kabuu in 2014.

Agnes Tirop (above), in fact, stepped up another gear, sprinting past Senbere Teferi in the final 500 metres to emerge victorious.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Kenya’s Agnes Tirop shattered the women’s course record by a monstrous 29 seconds, setting a new mark of 31:19s at the TCS World 10K, here, on Sunday. The two others who followed her on to the podium, Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi and Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui, also clocked timings under the previous best (31:48) set by Lucy Kabuu in 2014.

There was a record-breaking effort among the Indian women too, with Sanjivani Jadhav coming home in 33.38 to better Kavita Raut's 34:32 set way back in 2009. It capped a fine few months for the 20-year-old who had, earlier in the year, won the Tata Mumbai half marathon and bagged the bronze in the Asian Cross Country Championship. The performance also placed her at an impressive 10th place overall, even ahead of a few Elite international athletes.

Among the men, Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor, the three-time defending World half-marathon champion, obliterated the field by winning in 28:18, a full 20 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese. Mosinet Geremew, the victor here in 2015 and 2016, warded off defending champion Alex Korio to cross the line a second later. There was a photo finish to decide the Indian men’s winner as the seasoned Suresh Kumar pipped Man Singh.

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Of the two, the women’s race was more interesting. The reigning World half-marathon champion and record-holder Netsanet Gudeta set the early pace, but the Kenyan bunch of Tirop, Kipkirui and Pauline Kamulu – fully colour co-ordinated with an understanding to match that – stayed within touching distance.

It was not until the 8km mark that anybody showed an inclination to break away. Teferi, Tirop and Kipkirui, all accomplished middle-distance and cross country runners, found the finishing kick on a smooth and downhill final stretch, whereas Gudeta withered away. Tirop, in fact, stepped up another gear, sprinting past Teferi in the final 500 metres to emerge victorious.

Kamworor, on the other hand, needed no help from his countrymen as he became the first three-time winner in Bengaluru. After deciding to leave the leading pack midway, he never looked back. Legese tried to keep up for a fleeting few seconds before giving up. The 25-year-old split 13:50 for the final 5km, similar to his performance in Valencia in March at the World Half Marathon Championship, where he ran the final 5 kilometres in 13:01.

“I am very happy. I was going for the course record. However, the conditions weren't favourable for the fastest time. It was very hot, but I still tried my best,” he said.

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The results: Overall: Men: 1. Geoffrey Kamworor (Ken) 28:18s; 2. Birhanu Legese (Eth) 28:38; 3. Mosinet Geremew (Eth) 28:39. Women: 1. Agnes Tirop (Ken) 31:19; 2. Senbere Teferi (Eth) 31:22; 3. Caroline Kipkirui (Ken) 31:28.

India: Men: 1. Suresh Kumar 30:12; 2. Man Singh 30:12; 3. Shankar Man Thapa 30:41. Women: 1. Sanjivani Jhadav 33:38; 2. Swati Gadhave 35:08; 3. Kiranjeet Kaur 35:25.

Winner's Prize money: Men: $26,000; Women: $26,000; Course record bonus: $7000.

Indians: Men: ₹2.75 lakh; Women: ₹2.75 lakh; Course record bonus: ₹2 lakh.

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