Bengaluru: Five of the world’s leading distance runners on Friday gathered at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium ahead of the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) World 10K Bengaluru 2022. The race is scheduled for Sunday.
”I feel confident I can run well on Sunday,” said Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, the defending TCS World 10K Bengaluru men’s champion from 2019, the last time the event was held in a physical form.
”I made my marathon debut in Valencia in December, but it didn’t go well, and I had some injuries. I haven’t raced since then, but I have now recovered well, have trained well, and I didn’t want to miss this race.
”I feel like India is my second home, this is my sixth trip here. The Indian people now know me and I can hear them cheering me and calling my name from the roadside,” added Belihu, who was a late addition to the race. Belihu has previously won the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon twice.
”I have been to the World Championships and raced 10,000m on the last two occasions but didn’t get a medal so obviously I want to improve there and fight for a place on the podium (in Eugene),” said Belihu.
By contrast, his compatriot Muktar Edris came away from the last two World Championships in 2017 and 2019 with 5000m gold medals in his hand on both occasions. ”And I want to make it a third, of course,” said Edris. ”After this race I will focus on the World Championships and start racing on the track.”
Edris’ achievements on the roads have been more modest than his track exploits but he feels that the TCSW10K Bengaluru this Sunday could be a great opportunity to make a big breakthrough.
Kenya’s former world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie, the fastest man in the field, is clearly in form as he moved up to fourth on the world all-time list following his victory in a stunning time of 26:50 in the German city of Herzogenaurach just two weeks ago.
”I am hoping for a very quick race, and I can see this is a very fast course. As for the summer, I hope to make the Kenyan team going to the World Championships in the 10,000m, that’ll be my big focus. ”But if I don’t make the team then I start training for the roads again and race some half marathons in the autumn,” said Kandie.
Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and Irene Cheptai were positive about the possibilities of improving on the women’s course record of 31:19, set by their friend and fellow Kenyan Agnes Tirop, in 2018.
”The other ladies, particularly the Ethiopians, are very strong. But I am also very strong, I have trained very well and I’m looking forward to this race, which will be last one on the roads before I turn my attention to the track,” said Obiri who, like Edris, has won the last two World Athletics Championships 5000m titles. Cheptai was the 2017 champion in Bengaluru.
”I feel very positive about victory again. I have looked at the field and I have been thinking about how I can beat these ladies. I think I can win again,” said Cheptai, who was in great form in 2021 and finished sixth in the Tokyo Olympic Games 10,000m last summer.