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Bengaluru: On a rather unusually warm day according to Bengaluru standards, it was business unusual too in the TCS World 10K for Indian elite athletes.
Sanjivani Jadhav defended her title coming home at 35:10 ahead of Parul Chaudhary (35:36). But it was third-placed Chinta Yadav (36:34) who sprung a surprise to finish on podium. And then Karan Singh aced pre-race favourites Lakshmanan G and Avinash Sable to win the Indian elite men’s competition at 29:55.
The women’s field took the course first and Jadhav, Swati Gadhave and Yadav were in the lead pack at the 2.5 km mark. Chaudhary, who eventually finished 2nd, was two seconds behind at 7th position then. But between 2.5 km and 5 km, she picked up the pace to move into second place. Along with Jadhav, the two zoomed ahead of the rest of the field. At 7.5 Km mark, Jadhav was leading Chaudhary just by a fraction of a second while third-placed Yadav was a good 29 seconds behind.
With just two kms from the home stretch, Jadhav accelerated to take a decisive lead in the race and eventually defend her title at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Chaudhary came second a good 26 seconds later at 35:36.
In the end, Jadhav was happy to finish the race on top but felt she could have done much better. “I was carrying a niggle in my hamstring so am happy to have finished on top. But I could have surely achieved a better time,” said Jadhav who also finished 10th overall.
Chaudhary who was trailing in the first 2.5 Kms said she was confident of a podium finish. “I know my body well and knew when to pace, so I wasn’t worried about my slow start,” said Chaudhary.
Pre-race favourites Lakshmanan G and Avinash Sable finish second and third
Indian elite men’s winner Singh started strong and led the experienced Lakshmanan at 2.5 Km mark. Sable was on their toes in third place with Abhishek Pal in ninth. But as the race progressed, the fight was left between Singh and Lakshmanan as they kept wrestling the lead from each other through the course. The two kept up the pace on each other in a manner where at 5 km mark third-placed Sable was trailing by over 10 seconds.
2016 winner Lakshmanan looked smooth through the race and had kept the lead for major part until 7.5 Km. But that’s when Singh decided to take matters into his hand. In the last stretch, he decided to increase the gap between him and Lakshmanan and entered the Sree Kanteerava stadium with a four-second gap. In the end, such was his pace that he recorded the second fastest time ever for Indian elite men in TCS World 10K at 29:55 as Lakshmanan had to be content finishing at 30:02. Sable finished third at 30:36. Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu triumphs in men's category; Kenya’s Agnes Tirop defends her women’s title.
After the race, Singh spoke about his strategy that created the upset. “Before the race, I had decided to be close to Lakshmanan because he had a good time on this course thinking that would help me to achieve a good time and a favourable result too,” explained Singh who was preparing for the race since finishing third at the Mumbai Marathon in January.
Lakshmanan on the other hand admitted that he had the course record in mind when he got to the start line. “Since I was chasing the course record, I was aggressive from the start, but due to difficult weather conditions I couldn’t finish well. Maybe even Karan would have achieved a better time if the conditions weren’t so humid,” explained Lakshmanan, a winner of the 2016 edition of the competition.
The winners took home INR 275,000, 2nd placed athletes got INR 200,000 while third-placed runners collected a cheque of INR 150,000.
Karan Singh (Overall 11) 00:29:55; Lakshmanan Govindan (Overall 12) 00:30:02; Avinash Mukund Sable (Overall 13) 00:30:36; Srinu Bugatha (Overall 14) 00:30:47; Dinesh (Overall 15) 00:30:51; Durga Bahadur Budha (Overall 16) 00:30:52; Balliappa A B (Overall 17) 00:31:02; Narendra Pratap Singh (Overall 18) 00:31:18; Shankar Man Thapa (Overall 19) 00:31:31; Vineet Malik (Overall 20) 00:31:46.
Indian Women :
Sanjivani Jadhav (Overall10) 00:35:10; Parul Chaudhary (Overall 11) 00:35:36; Chinta Yadav (Overall 13) 00: 36:34; Kiran (Overall 14) 00:36:50; Manju Yadav (Overall 15) 00:37:11; Jyoti Chouhan (Overall 16) 00:37:21; Preenu Yadav (Overall 17) 00:37:37; Swati Gadhave (Overall 18) 00:38:01; Arpita Saini (Overall 19) 00:38:02; Prajakta Godbole (Overall 20) 00:38:20; Jyoti Singh (Overall 21) 00:39:02.