Agnes Tirop takes the victory at the 2018 TCS World 10k in Bengaluru (Organisers) © Copyright
General News Bengaluru, India

Thrilling head-to-head races expected in Bengaluru

The 12th edition of the TCS World 10K promises to deliver enthralling head-to-head competition after the elite fields for the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday 19 May were announced.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Koech and Vincent Kiprotich Kibet finished 2018 as the third and fifth fastest men over 10km in the world last year with 27:18 and 27:21 respectively, both times considerably faster than the Bengaluru course record of 27:44 set by their compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor in 2014.

Koech, the fastest man in the field, hasn’t been in quite the same sparkling form in his two outings so far this year, both half marathons, but is hoping that dropping down in distance will pay dividends. Kiprotich Kibet, meanwhile, won in Wurzburg earlier this year in 27:35.

Ethiopian duo Birhanu Legese and Andamlak Belihu both know what it’s like to win on Indian roads having respectively won the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K and Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in December and October last year.

Legese, second in Bengaluru last year, has also started the year in winning fashion by taking the honours at the Tokyo Marathon in 2:04:48 in March while the 20-year-old Belihu was eighth at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Factor in Turkey’s in-form Kaan Kigen Ozbilen, who has already had quick marathon and half marathon outings this year, and Kenya’s ever-competitive two-time world medallist Bedan Karoki, who was second behind Legese at the Tokyo Marathon last month, and the men’s race promises plenty of thrilling high-quality action.

Tirop to defend her Bengaluru title

Kenya’s Agnes Tirop returns to the Garden City to defend the title – a feat never achieved before in the women’s race since the TCS World 10K was inaugurated in 2008 – she won last year. In 2018, Tirop set a course record of 31:19 after managing to shake off Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi with just 250 metres to go.

Teferi, who won the RAK Half Marathon earlier this year in a national record of 1:05:45, is also back in Bengaluru while other familiar faces on the start line include Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui and Ethiopia’s world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta, who were third and fourth in 2018.

Add into the mix the presence of Kenya’s world record-holder Joyciline Jepkosgei and Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu, who leads the 2019 10km world list after her win in Valencia in 30:15 and it promises to be every bit as exciting as the men’s contest.

“Every year the quality of the elite fields for the TCS World 10K Bengaluru gets better and this year is no different,” said Vivek Singh, joint managing director of race promoters Procam International. “We have world record-holder Joyciline Jepkosgei and five male athletes whose personal best is well below the course record.”

The TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019 has a total prize fund of US$213,000, with the men’s and women’s winners taking home US$26,000.

Organisers for the IAAF

Elite fields

Geoffrey Koech (KEN) 27:18
Vincent Kiprotich Kibet (KEN) 27:21
Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 27:25
Birhanu Legese (ETH) 27:34
Bedan Karoki (KEN) 27:37
Andamlak Belihu (ETH) 27:48
Mande Bushendich (UGA) 27:56
Aweke Ayalew (BRN) 28:30
Daniel Chaves (BRA) 28:46
Paul Tanui (KEN) 28:47
Solomon Berihu (ETH) debut

Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 29:43 world record
Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 30:15
Caroline Kipkirui (KEN) 30:19
Senbere Teferi (ETH) 30:38
Evaline Chirchir (KEN) 30:43
Agnes Tirop (KEN) 30:50
Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 31:35
Alia Mohamed Alia Saeed (UAE) 31:36
Dera Dida (ETH) 33:00
Volha Mazuronak (BLR) debut