In what was a Kenyan fest for the first time at the 10k runs in India, the one in Bangalore saw, Geoffrey Kipsang beat fellow Kenyans Alex Korio and Victor Kipchirchir who finished second and third respectively in the men’s category of international athletes, and Helah Kiprop beat Esther Chemutai and Doris Changeywo in the women’s; all being from Kenya. It was the first time in India for Helah and Esther, which made the wins all the more special for them and hopefully, the beginning of a new association with India.
Kiprop recorded a 32:22 finish. She was extremely pleased with her effort. Being more of a marathon runner, she considers herself more of a front-runner and perhaps that’s what won her the race eventually. When asked about a strategy while approaching the race and how she felt after her win, she humbly said, “I was slowing down from time to time and then accelerating as I wanted to keep testing myself, so, I didn’t have a particular strategy. I wasn’t confident of winning to begin with, but after almost 8 kms, I thought maybe I could pull this one off. I panicked towards the end as the others were closing in, but ultimately, it was a wonderful experience for me having won my maiden race in India.”
For Esther Chemutai, it was a very satisfying experience finishing second best as she thinks she wasn’t well prepared for it. She finished just 12 seconds after Kiprop’s time. “I wasn’t well prepared, but I tried to win and I did; I’m very happy. Helah pushed ahead in the last couple of kms and I had to push myself to keep up with her and win second place.” Chemutai will be participating in the trials for the London Olympics and hopes to do well enough there to make a place in the Kenyan team. “I hope to qualify and hope to give my best every time I perform.”
For Doris Changewyo, it was her best performance at the race – finishing in third place, her previous best being sixth. Having approached the run impulsively she says, “It was very hot. I started from the back; I was observing my fellow runners and how they were going about their race and then upped my pace eventually.”
All the three girls train in the same area of Iten, but in different groups. All three are well supported by their coaches and husbands who they train with quite often.
In the men’s run, in what was Geoffrey Kipsang’s second visit to India, he was mighty pleased to have won the race having been well prepared for it. The conditions seemed to have suited him well and his confidence approaching the game perhaps was vital in emerging victorious. He was all praises for how the event was organized on the whole and professed his love for India too; something that was common in amongst all the three winners. “The entire event was very well-planned; the conditions were good, the people were friendly and very welcoming, everything was brilliant and perhaps, such an atmosphere motivated me to win. In Delhi, when I won, I pushed my pace only in the last 50m, but this time, I pushed it up in the last 2 kms, which gave me the lead. I had trained well coming into this run and knew it was mine,” he said confidently.
Victor Kipchirchir and Alex Korio agreed with Kipsang and heaped praise on how well the event was organized and how friendly people in Bangalore were to them. They said they hoped to come back next year, if invited. Korio had trained for the past two years to get here with coach, Opoke from Nyanza. He would be representing Kenya in the London Olympics and hopes to win gold. He also hopes to come back next year and win the 10k run here. “I will prepare better and now that I know how it is, I’m sure I’ll be well prepared and hope to win next year.”
When asked about their advice to upcoming runners, all of them echoed each other by saying – ‘Be focused, dedicated, patient and train hard.’
The 10k run in Bangalore turned out to be a great one for the Kenyans who beat the Ethiopian athletes hands down. It would be interesting to see if they dominate the race in the coming years the way they did this year.
Overall Elite women: Helah Kiprop (KEN) 00.32.22; Esther Chemutai (KEN) 00.32.34; Doris Changeywo (KEN) 00.32.44; Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH) 00.33.04; Selam Abere (ETH) 00.33.08; Grace Momanyi (KEN) 00.33.24; Helalia Johannes (NAM) 00.33.31; Philes Ongori (KEN) 00.33.36; Merima Mohammed (ETH) 00.33.50; Peninah Arusei (KEN) 00.33.58.