Tokyo Olympic 10km silver-medalist Kalkidan Gezahegne was triumphant at the Giants Geneva 10K on Sunday. With a time of 29:38, the Ethiopian-born runner bettered the world-record mark set by Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei in 2017, by five seconds.
For the 30-year-old born in Ethiopia, it was just the fourth road race of her career. By the time she reached the half-way point in 14:46, she had a five-second lead over Kenyan duo Celliphine Chespol and Agnes Tirop, who set a women's world record of 30:01 for the 10km distance last month.
Kalkidan Gezahegne makes the most of her lead
Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum also passed through halfway inside 15 minutes, but she soon began to drop back. Challenges from Chespol and Tirop also faded away, leaving Kalkidan Gezahegne with a significant lead.
Gezahegne covered the second half in 14:51, crossing the finish line in 29:38 to take five seconds off Jepkosgei’s world record set in Prague in 2017.
Tirop finished second in 30:20, eight seconds ahead of steeplechase specialist Chespol. Seyaum was further back in fourth, clocking 31:25.
In the men’s race, world half-marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie had fellow Kenyans Felix Kipkoech and Boniface Kibiwott for company as he passed through halfway at 13:28. The pace increased in the second half, which was enough to break Kibiwott, leaving Kandie and Kipkoech to duel for the top spot.
Kandie, always a strong finisher, came through to take victory in 26:51, finishing six seconds ahead of Kipkoech. Kibiwott held on for third in 27:13. In fourth, Pietro Riva set an Italian record of 28:06.
At the Tokyo Olympics, the 30-year-old from Bahrain finished behind Sifan Hasan. The Olympic silver was Gezahenge's first medal at the quadrennial event and Bahrain's fourth at the quadrennial Games.