Defending Bengaluru champion Agnes Tirop took the bronze medal at the last world championships in London two year ago and, naturally, the Kenyan wants to move further up the podium in Doha in just under five months’ time.
“I enjoy running on the roads and especially in Bengaluru as I had a very nice experience here last year (where she won and set a course record of 31:19) but my focus is still on the track. I may switch to road running full time in a few years but only after the 2020 Olympics,” commented Tirop, at the traditional pre-race press conference in the Garden City.
“I’m coming here in good shape, I can’t say how fast I am going to run but compared to last year I feel one year stronger,” added Tirop, slightly enigmatically in response to a question about how her fitness compared to that of 12 months ago.
Tirop will be making her 2019 racing debut on Sunday.
By contrast, Bahrain’s Kenya-born reigning world marathon champion Rose Chelimo has already had a relatively busy year with four high quality races.
By her own admission, her results have been disappointing compared to the last two years, when she not only won the global marathon title but then went on to become the continental champion over the classic distance at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia last August.
Chelimo’s most recent outing saw her finish down in seventh place at the Gifu Half Marathon in Japan last month and she finished a modest 41st at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.
Nevertheless, Chelimo put a brave face on these recent results. “Of course, I hope to defend my title in Doha, everything is aiming to that and I’m not too worried about the fact that the marathon there will be hot. However, I have been preparing specially for this race for the last two weeks and I have prepared well.
“I have to admit I am a little nervous running against all these fast women here. A 10km race is different from the marathon. In a marathon, after 10km there is still 32km to go,” joked the effervescent Chelimo.
Attention in the men’s race has been focussed on the seven men who are
faster than the TCS World 10K course record of 27:44 set by Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor in 2014 but perhaps the surprise package could be Kamworor’s compatriot Paul Tanui.
Tanui has won 10,000m medals on the track at the last three world championships and so there is no doubting his credentials as a top-class competitor but has generally shied away from running over the same distance on the roads, his last outing coming in 2016.
Consequently, he is expected to make a big revision in his personal best of 28:47 in Bengaluru.
“My focus is still on the track and I want to qualify for the world championships again and battle for another medal, but I am looking forward to this race and battling for a top position here,” said Tanui.
The men’s elite field – which has nine runners with IAAF Gold Status - has been boosted by the recent addition of Kenya’s 21-year-old Mathew Kimeli, who can boast of a 10km best of 27:11 and has finished first and second in the 2017 and 2018 Berlin 10km races.
In addition to Rose Chelimo, a late addition to the women’s race is Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey, the two-time former world U20 cross country champion who also took the bronze medal in the senior race in March.
Gidey will be making her debut over 10km in the roads but certainly could be a factor. However, Kenya’s 10km world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei is a late withdrawal from the race.
The women’s elite field has nine IAAF Gold Status runners and five who have
personal bests better than Agnes Tirop’s course record.
The TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019 has a total prize fund of US$213,000, with
the men’s and women’s winners each taking home US$26,000.
An estimated 25,000 runners will take to the roads for five different races in what has become one of highlights of Bengaluru’s sporting year.
In addition to the TCS World 10K for elite runners, there is an Open 10K, the Majja Run (5km) the Senior Citizens’ Race and Champions with Disability Race (both 4km).
Elite fields (with 10km personal best times)
Vincent KiprotichKibet(KEN) 27:21
Kaan KigenOzbilen(TUR) 27:25
BirhanuLegese (ETH) 27:34
AgnesTirop (KEN) 30:50 defending TCS World 10Kchampion
TsehayGemechu (ETH) 30:15
CarolineKipkirui (KEN) 30:19
Alia Mohamed Alia Saeed (UAE) 31:36 RoseChelimo(BRN) 32:04
DeraDida (ETH) 33:00
* For more information about the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019, the event websiteis: