Bengaluru: Come Sunday morning and best long-distance runners from across the globe will run and test their endurance in the TCS World 10K, which will be flagged off from Kanteerava Stadium.
The Indian elite men’s field comprises Avinash Sable, Abhishek Pal and Lakshmanan G. and two debutants in Pradeep Singh Chaudhary and Ranjeet Kumar Patel.
Course-record holder Sanjivani Jadhav will face tough competition from two-time World 10K champion Swati Gadhave (2014 & 2018), while Kiran Sahdev and Parul Chaudhary will further strengthen the field. In the 2018 Delhi Half Marathon, Jadhav finished on top with Chaudhary finished 2nd.
Whereas, steeplechase National Record Holder and course-record holder at the Kolkata 25K, Sable, will face some stiff competition from the winner of the Delhi Half Marathon 2018 Abhishek Pal. “It’s a good field but I am not thinking about my competitors. I feel I am my own competition and that keeps me on my toes to improve further,” said Sable. Pal, who had beaten Sable to the top position at the Delhi Half Marathon, was upbeat about his performance in the race.
“I will have my eyes on the course record, and if I can manage the niggle in my knee I surely will go after it,” said Pal on breaking the national course record of 29:49, set by Suresh Kumar in 2015.
Lakshmanan G. is happy to be back after two years. “I have trained for this and will look to break the course record if everything falls into place,” said Lakshmanan, who won the 2016 edition.Indian elite women’s course-record holder Jadhav though wants to keep it simple. “There is no pressure and there was none even when I broke the record,” she said.
“The field is pretty good, but the last time around, World 10K was before Asian Championship and that kept me at the peak of my training and it’s the other way round this time. This change in schedule will also pose a big challenge this time,” added Jadhav.
Despite these Indians trying to make a name for themselves, all eyes would be on the marquee international athletes. With four months remaining to World Championships, every race becomes vital on their road to Doha and in the build-up, all athletes agreed, there is no room for complacency.
Defending champions, Agnes Tirop and Geoffrey Kamworor – both hailing from Kenya, are hoping for a good race. Though Agnes, coming out of an injury, would aim to replicate her last year’s performance, even a podium finish would boost her confidence as Bengaluru would be her first race of this year.
But the race for gold for the Kenyans isn’t easy as they face a tough challenge from various international athletes.
Asian Games gold medallist Rose Chelimo has been preparing for this race for the last two weeks and hopes to of leave the Garden City with the gold. Geoffery will have a stern test against his compatriot Paul Tanui and for now, he is completely focussed on the Sunday race