A young enthusiastic fan somewhere in the middle of the 10km route was holding a placard “For us, all runners are Kenyans”, acknowledging the dominance of the African nation in long-distance running. True to expectations, the Kenyans made a clean sweep in both the men's and women's section in the TCS World 10K event in Bangalore on Sunday. The victory made the six athletes richer by US$ 82,000 (Rs 45 lakh approx).
Geoffrey Kipsang (21), a police constable, won the race, clocking 28 minutes — 2 minutes and 15 seconds faster than the fastest Indian in the race. The Kenyan, who had finished runners-up in last year's Delhi Half Marathon received a cheque of $21,000 for his efforts.
Alex Korio finished second, clocking 28:09s, while Kipsang's cousin, Victor Kipchirchir, timed 28:15s. “It’s a nice experience running in Bangalore. I started with my usual pace and at the midway mark, I was sure of the podium,” said Kipsang.
In the women's open section, Helah Kiprop, competing in India for the first time, clocked 32:22s for the top finish — 4 minutes and 24 second faster than the top Indian woman runner in the field. Kiprop was followed by country-mates, Esther Chemutai (32:34s) and Dorish Changeywo (32:44).
“In Kenya, for us getting into long-distance running is like duck taking to water. It gives us jobs, a decent earning and an opportunity to make the country proud,” said Korio, who is employed with Kenyan Army.
Rahul Kumar Pal, 19, clocked 30:15s to bag the top spot among Indian elite runners. Sunday's was the biggest win in terms of money for the 2009 Youth Asian silver-medallist 1500m-runner. The victory gave the Army Sports Institute runner a prize-money of Rs 1 lakh and another Rs 1.5 lakh for being part of the victorious three-member Maharashtra team. In the Indian women's section, Monika Athre of Maharashtra finished first (36:46s).