Millennium Post

Kipsang leads Kenyan sweep at TCS World 10K Bangalore

Geoffrey Kipsang and Helah Kiprop led a Kenyan clean sweep of the top three places in the elite men and women's field of the Tata Consultancy World 10K Bangalore 2012 here on Sunday.

Kipsang, a former junior world cross country champion and runner-up at the Delhi Half Marathon, led right from the start to finish in 28 minutes, nine seconds outside the course record of 27.51.

Countrymen Alex Korio (28:09) and Victor Kipchirchir (28:15) finished second and third respectively, beating the Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa to the fourth place.

Former champion and fancied name Deriba Merga finished way below in the rankings, as did 25km world record holder and pre-race favourite Dennis Kimetto, done in by injury.

The women's race, run in relatively hotter conditions, saw Helah Kirop winning in 32.22 minutes, followed by countrywomen Esther Chimutai (32.34) and Doris Changeywo (32.44).

The overall winners took home USD 21,000 each, with the second and third place finishers winning USD 12,000 and 8,000 each.

Rahul Kumar Pal and Monika Athre emerged winners among men and women in the Indian category, finishing overall 21st and 17th respectively.

The Army Sports Institute Pune cadet Rahul Pal was home in 30.15 minutes, followed by his teammate Mohammed Yunus, who also clocked the same time but was declared second in the photo-finish. In third place was Kheta Ram (30.17).

The women's race was won by the young Monika, another running prodigy from the village that has produced former winner Kavita Raut, beating a strong field of Indians. Monika finished in 36.46, followed by Swati Gadhave (37.14) and Priyanka Singh Patel (37.23).

The nation's challenge saw Maharashtra emerging champions, followed by Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

With early morning showers lowering the temperature and making for a cool start at 7.10 am for the men, Kipsang, in the company of Ugandan Moses Kipsiro and Alex Korio, led from the front, followed closely by Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa and the rest of the bunch.

The leading bunch of around 10 runners were on course record target at the 5km mark, crossing it in 14.07 seconds.

After the 6-km mark, Kipsang dropped pace a bit and fell back for about a kilometer to judge the reaction from his fellow runners before pushing again to take the lead.

Kipsang led a bunch of five runners over the 7km mark in 19.54 and then struck out further to cross the 8km marker in 22.36. At this juncture, the other two had fallen behind and Kipsang entered the stadium comfortably in the lead and completed a lap to breast the tape.

Talking about his run, Kipsang said, 'I got into early rhythm on the flat course and as the weather was good could sustain the momentum.'

On dropping back a bit after six kms, Kipsang said, 'I was pushing hard and did not want others to take advantage of this and then sprint past me, hence I slackened the pace a bit to judge their reaction. When I saw they were all going strong, I began pushing once again.'

Kipsang said after the 8km mark, he was confident of finishing winner because he was still feeling strong and knew he could hold off till the finish.

The women's race too was closely contested with Helah Kiprop leading the way. Kiprop stayed with the pack till eight kms when she decided that she had a chance to go for the kill.

'I was just trying to push myself for most part of the race, but when I reached 8-km mark, I said Oh maybe I can try (to win),' said Kiprop.
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