Geremew the man to beat at TCS World 10k

With Bengaluru in the midst of a blistering summer, it remains to be seen how adverse its effect will be on the TCS world 10k. Defending champion Mosinet Geremew, albeit disliking the hot weather, will be the favourite at the event.

Mosinet Geremew is in a rich vein of form, after having won the Yangzhou International Half Marathon in China last month in a time of 1:00:56.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Two-time defending champion Mosinet Geremew will be the man to beat at the TCS World 10k here on Sunday. The 25-year-old Ethiopian is in a rich vein of form, after having won the Yangzhou International Half Marathon in China last month in a time of 1:00:56.

“Athletes are strong here,” said Geremew when asked why he likes it here in Bengaluru. “It's also a good time to run. But I don't like the hot weather.”

The weather may well put a spanner in the works. In a departure from the past, the Elite men's race will be the last event of the day, starting at 8.50 a.m., nearly an hour and a half later than last year. With the city in the midst of a blistering summer – the heavy rain on Thursday notwithstanding – it remains to be seen how adverse its effect will be.

“It is scaring the hell out of me,” said New Zealand's Zane Robertson with a laugh. “I went for a run at 5.30 a.m. and it was hot. But I have been training in the desert for this race. I have prepared with the aim of breaking the course record (27:44) here.”

The 27-year-old, who trains in Kenya, ran the fastest 10km time in the world last year, clocking 27:28 in Berlin and is one of the contenders here. Geremew was once his training partner. So was 10k World Record-holder Leonard Komon, the other big name in the fray.

Kenya's Komon, who set the record of 26:44 way back in 2010, has endured many injuries. But after having finished a strong 12th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March, he hoped this year would be his “best year.”

In the women's field, the 2016 winner Peres Jepchirchir isn't returning, but the reigning women’s world cross country champion, Kenya's Irene Cheptai, will be the biggest draw. Compatriot Gladys Chesir, the fastest woman in the field with a personal best of 30:41, would hope for better luck after a heat stroke cut short her challenge for second spot with roughly a kilometre to go in the last edition.

Competition is also expected from
former champions Helah Kiprop (2012) and Wude Yimer (2010), who finished second and third respectively in 2016.

The Indian Elite field will however wear a depleted look. Defending champions G. Lakshmanan and Swati Gadhave are both missing, because of the Federation Cup athletics championships, which will start in ten days' time and serve as the selection trials for the Asian Championship in Bhubaneswar in July.

So are M. D. Yunus, winner of the 2016 Kolkata 25K, and Monica Athare, the Half Marathon champion at the 2017 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.