BENGALURU : Ever since the inception of World 10K Bengaluru in 2008, runners from Kenya and Ethiopia have dominated the competition. Both these nations are reputed for their long-distance running. In the competition’s history, Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew is the only athlete (among men) to have successfully defended his title, winning in 2015 and 2016. Kenya’s Alex Korio is keen on becoming the second to replicate the feat on Sunday.
It’s not going to be easy for the defending champ considering the number of high-profile runners this year. If things go according to plan, he can also become the first to win the event thrice after his wins in 2013 and 2017. Besides Geremew, there are quite a few obstacles for Korio which includes current World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor. Leul Gebreselassie will also be confident after finishing second in the Dubai Marathon in January. Edwin Kiptoo will be eager to earn his maiden title in Bengaluru after finishing third in 2015. Likewise, Geremew will also be keen to shine after finishing a disappointing 10th last year.
“I’m happy to defend the title and that is what motivated me to come again for World 10K. For Sunday, we have so many guys who are strong. I have come here with the determination of winning. The competition (in the elite field) is not very different for me as the guys who are here, I have been competing with them in Kenya and Ethiopia,” said Korio. The Kenyan was at his impressive best last year, beating the elite field by 14 seconds.
The women’s competition will also be intriguing. Agnes Tirop, Pauline Kamulu and Caroline Kipkirui will be looking to challenge World Half Marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta.
Lalita misses flight
Despite the presence of international stars, the event will not witness India’s long distance runner Lalita Babar, who was set to land in Bengaluru on Friday, but missed her flight. It is a big drawback for the Indian contingent as people were looking ahead for a great race from the Arjuna awardee, who also missed the Commonwealth Games 2018 as she wanted to get back to fitness for the Asian Games.