Grand Stage set for Nike TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014
A fine blend of the finest track & field athletes and their road-running counterparts have arrived in the city from across the world to take the starter’s flag at the TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014, the world’s premier 10K run, which will be flagged off from the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday. India’s leading long distance athletes together with a record 25,000 running enthusiasts – competing in a host of categories – will keep them company.
Tadese, the winner of inaugural men’s race her in 2008, still holds the course record (27:51) and went on to set the world record in half-marathon (58:23) two years later. Kipsang, who finished fourth in 2009 at Bangalore, went on to win the Olympic bronze medal in marathon at London two years ago. Perhaps Bekele must have still waiting for his turn to come for the Bangalore sojourn.
Defending champion Alex Korio Oloitiptip is all set to log horn with his compatriot and 2012 winner Geoffrey Kamworor-Kipsang on Sunday. Age is in favour of Kamworor as he, with his latest victory in the IAAF World Half-Marathon championships at Kobenhagen, is eyeing for the top prize in the garden city for one more time. However their Kenyan teammate Peter Matelong, a newcomer here but leading the list with the fastest timing of 27:49 which he clocked while finishing fourth at Taroudant last year, will try to make things tougher for the champions to realize.
This apart another runner from the land of African safari, Daniel Salal, is also emerging as a challenger. Salal was a former world youth champion in 3000m and made his mark at India with a silver medal in 10000m at Commonwealth Games in Delhi four years ago. He is swearing to make amends the 19th place finish in Bangalore last year. In spite of a good line-up Tadese’s course record still looks formidable due to a late morning start of the races on Sunday.
The Kenyan women are trying to match their male counterparts in taking the prime places at Bangalore in the last few years. This time also they would like to repeat their display as last year’s bronze medalist and former Commonwealth Games champion Lucy Kabuu trying her might with country-mate Helah Kiprop, who won the women’s crown in 2012 here. Incidentally Kiprop is having a better track record on Indian soil with a third place in Delhi half-marathon two years ago apart from the golden glow in the inaugural Kochi International Half-Marathon last December. Kabuu was a victor at Delhi in 2011.
Two other Kenyans credited with better personal best timings to their credit – Joyce Chepkirui (30:37) and Linet Masai (30:48) – may pull a surprise or two in the women’s race. Two other ladies from different nations are also in the fray with prior running experience at Bangalore – Malika Asahssah (Moracco, 4th in 2012) and Helalia Johannes (Namibia, 7thin 2012).
Adding might to the high profile field will be 37 of India’s top runners. These include talented B.C Tilak who clocked 1:04:45s at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2011, Army man V.L Dangi, who was runner-up at the TCS World 10K Bangalore 2013, Kerala’s Soji Mathew, among India’s top fast running names who recorded a 1:05:45s finish at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2014, and Santosh K who finished last year’s Bangalore World 10K in 31:53 and looks forward to a better finish this year.
The Indian women’s race will see a fight between the brilliant Vijaymala, who was runner-up at the 2014 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon and finished the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in fourth place with a 1:21 finish, and Priyanka Singh Patel, winner of the 2011 Mumbai Half Marathon. The other names include well known Neelam Rajput, a National Marathon Champion in 2012, and young in form runner Manisha Salunkhe who was among the top ten finishers at last year’s Bangalore World 10K.
As part of the distance running tradition, promoters Procam International organised a relaxed and fun ‘Pasta with the Pundits’ on Saturday afternoon. The event witnessed a live pasta cookout involving event ambassador Carl Lewis, England Athletics Flying Coach Nick Anderson, Race Director Hugh Jones, and Arjuna Awardee Athlete Reeth Abraham along with Vishal Jhunjhunwala (Head Corporate brand , TCS), Neha Dhupia (Film Actress), Vikas Gowda (Olympian),Samar Singh Sekhawat from Kingfisher, Nitin Kukreja (Star Sports), Virendar Razdan (GM,ITC Windsor), and Anil Singh, MD. Procam International, who wore their aprons and toque and displayed their culinary skills.
Race Day proceedings will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and D D Sports, the Channel Partner from 7.00 am to 10.00 am.