TCS World 10K: Geremew looks to keep Kenyans at bay

Defending Elite men’s champion from Ethiopia Mosinet Geremew will once again look to keep the Kenyans in check at the TCS World 10k here on Sunday.

Mosinet Geremew (extreme right) with Cyprian Kotut (extreme left), Gladys Chesir (second from left) and Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, on the eve of the TCS World 10k.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Defending Elite men’s champion from Ethiopia Mosinet Geremew will once again look to keep the Kenyans in check at the TCS World 10k here on Sunday.

“I am very happy to come back,” he said on Saturday. “Preparation has been the same as last year. I did one half-marathon and finished in a good position. It’s very hard to win because the Kenyans are strong. I did it last time. Hoping for a repeat.”

The 24-year-old is a strong road-racer with fine results across the world. He is no stranger to India too having won the Hyderabad 10k in 2012, earned two podium finishes in Delhi in 2014 and 2015, before the success here. “The start of the race is from a track (inside the Sree Kanteerava Stadium),” he explained. “It’s a bit hard because of too many people. But the course is nice.”

He can expect a strong challenge from Kenya’s Cyprian Kotut, who won both the Paris full and half marathons this year, and is also a reserve in the squad for Rio Olympics.

“10k is like training for track,” he explained. “I won’t say I have recovered well [from Paris]. But I love India. I had my best half-marathon time here in Delhi in 2014.” Former World rcord holder in the marathon, Patrick Makau, will be making his first visit to India and will want to make it a memorable one.

The Elite women’s field looks stronger than ever. The 2015 winner Mamitu Daska isn’t returning, but the Kenyans, whose stranglehold over the event was broken by the Ethiopians last year, are out in full force. An intense battle is brewing between 22-year-old Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning World half-marathon champion and 21-year-old Gladys Chesir, who clocked 30:41 in the 2015 Berlin 10k, an all-time top-10 timing.

“I have never run in such hot conditions,” said Jepchirchir. “But it shouldn’t be too hard.” Gladys was a bronze medallist here last year. “I am hoping for something better,” she said.

Also in the fray is Agnes Tirop, the 2015 world cross-country champion, who will be making her road running debut, and the seasoned Helah Kiprop, champion here in 2012 and fourth last year. Ethiopia’s Wude Ayalew, runner-up in the previous edition, a former course record holder in Bengaluru and winner of the race in 2010, should pose a strong challenge.

The city, which has had to endure a blistering summer this year, has received a good amount of rainfall over the past fortnight. It has brought down the temperatures, though, the East Africans, who are more comfortable competing in Europe and North America, said the conditions were hot and humid.

The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by the likes of G. Lakshmanan, who did the 5000 and 10,000m double at the Federation Cup, the Rio-bound Nitendra Singh Rawat, M.D. Yunus, and the defending champion Suresh Patel. However, the holder of the women’s title, L. Surya, and Kheta Ram, are unlikely to feature.

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