Suresh Kumar Patel and Sudha Singh emerged champions among Indian runners in the elite category of the TCS World 10K here on Sunday.
Suresh clocked 30 minutes and 34 seconds to finish ahead of V L Dangi (30:53) and Mohd Yunus (30:58). Overall, Suresh was 20th in the elite field.
Sudha, the Asian Games 3000M steeplechase champion, finally struck gold in her fourth attempt, clocking 35:25. Another Asian Games champion, 10000M ace Preeja Sreedharan, took the second spot in 36:01 while O P Jaisha was third in 36:31.
“We have not specifically prepared for this race but took it as part of our training,” said Sudha, explaining the reason for their slow timing.
Sudha, like Suresh, will take home Rs one lakh as prize money. Their efforts, along with that of Mohd Yunus, helped Uttar Pradesh top the Nation’s Challenge segment, in an aggregate time of 1:36:56, for a prize money of Rs 450,000.
Maharashtra, featuring Dangi, Man Singh and Lalita Babbar, was second while Kerala, with Preeja, Arjun Pradhan and O Sonaton Singh in their ranks, took the third spot.
“I am happy that I could finish second,” said Preeja, who last ran the 10K back in 2009, finishing second behind her friend Kavita Raut.
“Returning to training only three months ago after marriage, I didn’t have any expectations here. Given my current fitness, it is a decent showing, especially since I don’t run on the road normally,” said Preeja.
Considering that she is not a 10K runner, Sudha was delighted with her effort. “Preeja is in a different league; I could win this only because of the fact that she is just returning to action and she is not in peak fitness,” said the J S Bhatia-trainee.
Sudha was 14th in the elite field while Preeja was just a rung lower. Last year’s Indian winner Monika Athre ended 18th.