TCS World 10K: I didn't expect to win, says Agnes Tirop

The elite women's race concluded with a sprint finish inside the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where Agnes Tirop stormed past Letesenbet Gidey on the track with 200m to go.

Agnes Tirop: "Everybody has a kick. The last kick is so difficult. In training, I had done a lot of 200m sprints on the track. So I told myself I could do it."   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

The elite women's race at the TCS World 10K turned out to be a cautious, tactical affair, with the lead bunch splitting only in the final kilometre.

The race concluded with a sprint finish inside the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where Agnes Tirop stormed past Letesenbet Gidey on the track with 200m to go.

"Towards the end, I didn't expect to win," a delighted Tirop said afterwards. "Everybody has a kick. The last kick is so difficult. In training, I had done a lot of 200m sprints on the track. So I told myself I could do it."

With a 5km split of 18:06, it had been a slow race, Kirop admitted. "The race was too slow. Today we were so strong that we feared each other," the Kenyan said.

Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi, who finished third, agreed that the presence of a pacemaker would have made a difference. "If there was a pacemaker, of course, we would have followed her. But this time everybody was looking at each other," she said.

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Exciting contest

The elite men's race, in contrast, was an open, exciting contest, with a Kenyan runner failing to finish on the podium for the first time since 2008.

Andamlak Belihu set a good pace from the outset, eventually falling 12 seconds short of the course record as he won. "I expected to run a fast time because there were so many good runners. I just kept pushing," the Ethiopian said.

Belihu and Uganda's Mande Bushendich broke from the lead pack with a little over 2km to go, before the former took control. "When he passed me, I knew he was too strong for me to catch," Bushendich admitted. "I was happy being second. I was more worried about people overtaking me from behind."