Tirop to defend Bengaluru title as Koech, Kibet target course record


Kenyans headline the list of elite runners registered for the 12th edition of the TCS World 10K on May 19.

The race promises to deliver enthralling head-to-head competition with Kenya’s Geoffrey Koech and Vincent Kibet, who finished 2018 as the third and fifth fastest men over 10km with 27:18 and 27:21 respectively, seeking to lower compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor course record of 27:44 set 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. Kibet, meanwhile, won in Wurzburg earlier this year in 27:35.

Kenyan turned Turk, 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 will also be in action.

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.

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 250m 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.


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