Andamlak Belihu (This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of TCS World 10K and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.)

On a day of heat and humidity, Andamlak Belihu of Ethiopia crossed the finish line in 27:56 minutes to emerge winner of the 2019 edition of TCS World 10k in Bengaluru.

He was eight seconds off his personal best and 12 seconds outside the course record, the race report available on the website of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said.

Uganda’s Mande Bushendich came in second with a timing of 28:03 and Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese finished third with a timing of 28:23. According to the race report, eight men crossed the half way mark in 14:11 minutes with Bushendich taking the lead followed by Belihu. The lead changed with less than two kilometres left for the finish.

The 2019 edition of the event – India’s premier 10 kilometer-race – happened on May 19.

In the women’s race, defending champion, Agnes Tirop of Kenya was the winner with a timing of 33:55 (in 2018 she had finished the race in 31:19, a course record). Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia finished second while Senbere Teferi came in third. As per the provisional results all three podium finishers in the women’s category overall, had the same timing – 33:55. When contacted, an official of the race organizer, Procam International said that the three women had completed the race within microseconds of each other. “ It was very close,’’ he said.

Tirop is the first woman to win back to back in the 12 years the race has been held so far. As per the race report, the women’s race began at a modest pace with nine women going through the first half of the course in 18:06 minutes, two minutes slower than the corresponding figure from 2018. Eight of them were still bunched together as they entered the stadium (Kanteerava Stadium, from where the race commences) for a final lap. The deciding stretch was the last 50 meters with victory decided on the strength of a narrow margin. The top five finishes happened within two seconds, the report said.

The winners of 2019 TCS World 10K (This photo was downloaded from the event’s Facebook page)

Among Indian men, the podium finishers were Karan Singh (29:55), Lakshmanan Govindan (30:02) and Avinash Mukund Sable (30:36). Winners among Indian women were Sanjivani Jadhav (35:10), Parul Chaudhary (35:36) and Chinta Yadav (36:34).

Kumar Rao, who was the winner in the 70-74 age category pointed out that the weather was unusually warm and humid. “ I was well on the way for a sub-50 finish, but cramped badly at 9.6 km and lost 90 seconds recovering from it before resuming the run,’’ he said. Kumar finished in 50:47.

Shilpi Sahu, a Bengaluru-based runner, also said it was very hot and humid. “ But it did not affect me much. I had a nice run as I paced myself well. I had a couple of injuries to mind as well,’’ she said. Shilpi finished in 47:01 and got third position in her age category of 40-44 years.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

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