Kenya’s Sabastian Sawe and Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu powered through heat and humidity to claim the international elite men’s and women’s titles respectively in the Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Bengaluru here on Sunday.
Under bright sunshine, Sawe edged out Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera and Kenya’s Hillary Chepkwoni to win in 27:58.24s. Sawe found a burst of energy in the final 500 metres as the leader pack entered the final stretch inside the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Sawe, who clocked the world’s fifth fastest 10K time in Germany last month, crossed the finish line milliseconds ahead of his rivals.
“I surprised myself with the energy I had in the last 500 metres,” Sawe said.
Defending champion Nicholas Kipkorir, whose course record remains safe, finished fourth. There were no course records broken on the day.
Ethiopia dominated the international elite women’s field, claiming the top three spots. Tsehay’s speedwork came to the fore as she left her competitors in the dust as they made their way into the stadium.
It was sweet redemption for Tsehay, who made a costly error at this event in her maiden appearance here in 2019. She was poised to win gold, but mistook the placement of the finish line to end up sixth.
Tsehay, a two-time Delhi Marathon champion, stated that she benefitted greatly from interacting with Ethiopian long-distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie. “Haile is my hero, and his tips were invaluable,” Tsehay said.
Sawe and Tsehay collected cheques of $26,000 each.
Among the Indian elite, Murli Gavit and Tamshi Singh posted the best timings.
Tamshi was too good for her Indian women compatriots, breaking away and running the majority of the route by her lonesome. “This is the first time I’m competing in a 10K run,” Tamshi, 19, explained.
Gavit changed gears in the last two kilometers to push ahead of Harmanjot Singh and Uttam Chand.
Gavit and Tamshi won ₹2,75,000 each.
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