TCS World 10K: Kimeli, Cheptai emerge victorious

Kimeli (27:38s) took six seconds off the elite men’s course record set by Geoffrey Kamworor in 2014. In the elite women’s event, Irene (30:35s) smashed the mark set by the late Agnes Tirop (31:19s) in 2018.

Kimeli (in picture) and Irene took home cheques of $26,000 each, and additional course record bonuses of $8,000.   -  MURALI KUMAR K

Course records fell by the wayside as Kenyans Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Irene Cheptai emerged victorious in the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) World 10K Bengaluru here on Sunday.

Kimeli (27:38s) took six seconds off the elite men’s course record set by Geoffrey Kamworor in 2014. In the elite women’s event, Irene (30:35s) smashed the mark set by the late Agnes Tirop (31:19s) in 2018.

Tadese Worku and Hellen Obiri, who finished second in elite men’s and women’s categories respectively, also went under the course records.

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The quick timings were thoroughly commendable, given the less-than-ideal conditions. Heavy rains, which stopped just an hour before the start of the elite runs, left big puddles for the runners to navigate. The start times (7.10 a.m. for women, and 8 a.m. for men) meant that the runners felt the heat, and the humidity only made it tougher.

Kimeli and his challengers started slowly, taking a little over 14 minutes to complete the first five kilometers. Kimeli, who trained with countryman Kamworor prior to his arrival here, turned on the heat to finish in great style. “I promised Kamworor that I would break his course record. But when we reached the 5km, and even the 7km mark, we didn’t think we will get the course record,” Kimeli said.

Kimeli, who finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics, exemplified true runner’s spirit in the post-race media interaction. “Tadese Worku - I salute you. You pushed me so hard throughout the
race. You are the real winner,” a gracious Kimeli told Ethiopian Worku.

Unlike the men, the women kept a hectic pace throughout. The Kenyan trio of Irene, Hellen and Joyce Tele started well, before Irene and Hellen broke free. The duo engaged in a thrilling head-to-head battle, entering the Sree Kanteerava Stadium together for the finale. With just 250 metres to go, Irene darted past a fading Hellen to record the win.

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“Even when I entered the stadium for the final lap, I feared Hellen’s kick. I kept pushing my speed to win,” Irene, who won the title here in 2017, said.

Kimeli and Irene took home cheques of $26,000 each, and additional course record bonuses of $8,000.

Among the Indians, Abhishek Pal (30:05s) and Parul Chaudhary (34:38s) finished on top.

Over 12,000 runners crossed the finish line in the Open 10K category, while around 4,800 people took part in the Majja Run.

The results (top three):

Elite International:

Men:
1. Kipkorir Kimeli (Ken) 27:38s

2. Tadese Worku (Eth) 27:43s

3. Kibiwott Kandie (Ken) 27:57s

Women:

1. Irene Cheptai (Ken) 30:35s

2. Hellen Obiri (Ken) 30:44s

3. Joyce Tele (Ken) 31:47s

Elite Indian:

Men:

1. Abhishek Pal 30:05s

2. Kartik Kumar 30:06s

3. Gulveer Singh 30:06s

Women:

1. Parul Chaudhary 34:38s

2. Sanjivani Jadhav 34:44s

3. Komal Jagadale 35:28s

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