Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu wins TCS World 10K marathon

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on May 20, 2019

Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, winner at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019. Photo: K Murali Kumar   -  The Hindu

Kenya’s Agnes Tirop retains women’s title

Andamlak Belihu of Ethiopia has won the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019 marathon title. In the women’s category, Kenya’s Agnes Tirop again won the title, albeit at a slower pace, becoming the first woman to win back-to-back titles in the 12-year history of the Bengaluru race.

Among the Indian participants, Sanjivani Jadhav and Karan Singh ruled the roost amongst Indian elite athletes. Among women, Parul Chaudhary took the second place as Chinta Yadav sprang a surprise. Pre-race favourites Lakshmanan G and Avinash Sable finished second and third respectively in the men’s field.

Ugandan challenge

Right from the gun, Belihu had a clear lead. Eight men went through the 5-km mark in 14:11, before Uganda’s Mande Bushendich made an audacious early move just after the halfway point.

Bushendich, who already has one major 10-km win to his name in 2019, having won the Pareloop race in the Netherlands, went through the gears so rapidly that the leading group was quickly fractured and by the 7-km mark, only Belihu was left to challenge him.

It looked as though Belihu was also going to lose as he briefly struggled to stay with his rival – later saying that he had suffered some knee pain which then passed – but he took the lead again with just under 2 km to go before he pulled away, never to be headed all the way to the line in the Kanteerava Stadium.

Belihu crossed the line in 27:56, just eight seconds outside his personal best and 12 seconds off the course record.

“I expected to run a fast time as there were so many good runners in this race, but I also expected to run even faster than this,” reflected Belihu, with a mixture of emotions at the post-race press conference.

Bushendich finished second in 28:03. “I was surprised no one else came with me when I made my move just after halfway,” said Bushendich, adding that he also had been running on empty having eschewed having any breakfast.

Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, the Tokyo Marathon winner earlier in the year and Tata Steel Kolkata 25K winner in December, found the distance just a little on the short side for his talents but came through to finish third in 28:23.

Women’s title

That this was going to be a much slower race than in 2018 (which Agnes Tirop had won in 31:19) was clear from the leisurely beginning, and group of nine women went through the first half of the race in a modest 18:06, more than two minutes down on last year’s split.

Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey darted into the lead on entering the stadium but, with 50 metres to go, Tirop still had plenty in reserve and emerged victorious in a thrilling five-woman sprint for the line.

Tirop won in 33:55, the slowest winning time in the history of the event, in sharp contrast to the fast men’s race.

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

An estimated 25,000 runners took to the roads for five different races in what has become one of the highlights of Bengaluru’s sporting calendar. In addition to the TCS World 10K for elite runners, there is an Open 10K, the Majja Run (5km) the Senior Citizens’ Race and Champions with Disability Race (both 4 km).

Indian elites

Sanjivani Jadhav defended her title coming home at 35:10 ahead of Parul Chaudhary (35:36). But it was third-placed Chinta Yadav (36:34) who sprung a surprise to finish on the podium. Karan Singh aced pre-race favourites Lakshmanan G and Avinash Sable to win the Indian elite men’s competition at 29:55.

Published on May 19, 2019

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