Brilliant Kamworor claims third title

Brilliant Kamworor claims third title

Agnes Tirop (left) and Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya win the TCS World 10K in Bengaluru on Sunday. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Geoffrey Kamworor never misses an opportunity to express his love for Bengaluru. The Kenyan knows how to win here. On Sunday, despite the tough conditions, he extended his romance with the city with another superb exhibition of his talent. 

Kamworor's dominance in the men's elite run was almost ridiculous as he powered his way to his third title at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru. Clocking 28:18, he missed out on bettering his best and the course record of 27:44, but he was at ease from start to finish. Birhanu Legese (28:38) and Mosinet Geremew (28:39) completed the podium. The Ethiopian duo provided excitement in the final dash. 

While Kamworor winning the contest became a certainty well before the finish line, Legese and Geremew gave their all in the last 800 metres and the former managed to pip the two-time champion by a whisker. Kenya's Alex Korio failed to defend his title and ended fourth in 28:44. 

Unlike the men's race, there was no easy winner in the women's contest. Agnes Tirop, who didn't force the pace in the first half, came alive when it mattered the most to emerge champion in a course record time.

Tirop, who sneaked ahead of Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi (31:22) in the final 500 metres, clocked 31:19, breaking the mark of 31:44 set by Kenya's Lucy Kabubu in 2014. Caroline Kipkirui of Kenya came third in 31:28.

There was disappointment for favourite Netsanet Gudeta, who maintained the lead early on. The world-half marathon winner didn't generate pace towards the business end and clocked 31:53 to end fourth. 

The humidity threat loomed large over the elite races and the champions admitted finding it difficult to adjust to the weather. 

"My pace wasn't bad. But since the temperature was high I failed to overhaul the course record. Overall I am happy with my effort. I love this city and the win has motivated me to come back here and win more medals," said Kamworor. 

It was Edwin Kiptoo who hit the front when the men's race kicked off and the Kenyan was followed by compatriot Kamworor. Korio then upped his pace and it appeared like a neck and neck battle between the trio. However, Kamworor took off after the five kilometres mark.

With the absence of pacemakers, it seemed the women were apprehensive of setting the pace. It was Gudeta who enjoyed a slender lead initially. However, the scenario changed after seven kilometres, when the course reached Cubbon Park, which has the fastest stretch. That's when Tefferi and Tirop produced their best to leave Gudeta behind. 

"It was a strong field and I was cautious of going in the front early on. I told myself 'let me wait till the last stretch and it turned out to be a really fast race in the closing portion. I didn't expect to win at all. I feared Gudeta. The weather also wasn't kind," said Tirop. 

Over 15,000 runners participated in the Open 10K, the first race of the day, while there was encouraging numbers in other categories like Majja Run, Champions With Disability and Senior Citizen's run.  

Results: Elite men: Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) 28:18, 1; Birhanu Legese (Ethiopia) 28:38, 2; Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) 28:39, 3. 

Elite women: Agnes Tirop (Kenya) 31:19 (New course record. OR: 31:44, Lucy Kabubu, 2009), 1; Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) 31:22, 2; Caroline Kipkirui (Kenya) 31:28, 3.