In what will go down as a classic in Indian road running history, Sabastian Sawe (Kenya) took the men’s title and Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu the women’s crown in the Elite category of the landmark 15th edition of the Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Bengaluru on Sunday.
Among the Indian elite, Murli Gavit, making only his second appearance at the iconic race, dashed to a sensational finish to bag the Indian men’s title while debutant Tamshi Singh won the women’s category.
Sawe, who clocked the world’s fifth fastest 10K time in Germany last month, ran a superbly-paced race to win in a close contest and Gemechu was equally impressive in the way she kicked on at the end in the prestigious USD 210,000 World Athletics Gold Label Road Race. The winners took home an equal prize cheque of USD 26,000 each in what is possibly one of the greatest road races in Asia. Sawe won in a time of 27:58.24 and Gemechu in 31:38.
It was an Ethiopian 1-2-3 in the women’s race with Fotyen Tesafe finishing four seconds behind Gemechu and the experienced Dera Dida only seven seconds shy of the winner.
It came down to the final kilometre after the trio grippingly ran almost similar times through 2.5 km, 5 km and 7.5 km splits and it was a strong finish by Gemechu that saw this year’s Tokyo Marathon runner-up take the crown.
In her previous visit to Bengaluru in 2019 Gemechu had finished sixth. “I was determined to get this victory. In 2019, I had made one mistake, this time I had the experience so this was an easier race. I think my track experience came in handy today,” she told reporters after her sensational win.
Three Kenyans finished in the top four in the men’s race that saw last year’s winner and course record holder Nicholas Kipkoekir come fourth, as his countryman Sawe won in spectacular style after kicking on at the finish.
Sawe won milliseconds ahead of Rodrigue Kwizera (Burundi) after the latter was ahead moments earlier in what was a gripping race. “It’s my first time here. I was feeling confident coming into the run because I’m coming off a victory in Germany. The last two kilometres was really tough. I told myself I have to push really hard, even the last 500m was very challenging,” he said.
Powerful finish by Murli and Tamshi
In the race for the Indian elite athletes, India’s most promising distance runner Murli ensured a brilliant finish clocking 29:58.03 with Harmanjot Singh giving a close contest for the top spot. He…
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