On a day where the Bengaluru skies displayed its varying moods, two new champions Parul Chaudhary and Abhishek Pal were crowned champions in the Indian men's and women's field respectively at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2022 on Sunday.
It was an easy win for Parul who hardly strayed away from the lead role in the pack, but Sanjivani, the 2019 champion who was looking to defend her title, was keeping pace with her until the pack entered the Kanteerava stadium for the final stretch.
"The route was a little hilly," said Parul of the course where she has featured for the second time. "But it was good because we practice for this. I'm happy with the test I did for speed."
A final burst from Parul allowed her to finish at the top and set a personal best in 10K road running at 34:38. Sanjivani finished 6 seconds behind at 34:44.
The surprise of the day was for Komal Jagadale who also managed to break away from the pack in the last 350m of the race and finish at 35:28. For Komal, a steeplechaser, it was an incredible debut 10K race where she finished ahead of her seniors, something which she herself was amazed by. "I didn't think I would place on the podium. I didn't care much about chasing the international athletes because I was busy competing against the Indian field itself."
The rain affected the race conditions for all three podium finishers, but to varying degrees. While Sanjivani waxed eloquent about the Bengaluru course being her favourite and Parul was only a little disturbed by the puddles, Komal's view was interesting. "The rain didn't affect me much because I dealt with it like a steeplechaser," she recounted with a laugh, summing up the mood of the Indian women's podium.
The men's field featured a podium that finished within 1 second of each other with Abhishek Pal taking the top spot at 30:05 while both Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh finished at 30:06.
For both Kartik and Gulveer, it was their first time racing a 10K on-road and both runners, who train together at a camp in Ooty, were pleased with their performance. Kartik, in particular, led a rather jovial mood at the post-race press conference while recollecting his race.
"It was a little tough in some places [with the puddles on the road from the rain]. There may have been a mistake in the middle, but I didn't want to overtake the seniors too much," said Kartik jokingly. "It feels nice with everybody gets a medal."
Gulveer also joined in the cheery atmosphere as he outlined his preparation for the race. "We all train together so the strategy was to follow the two in front." While Gulveer, a 10K road race novice, has yet to qualify for the Asian Games, both Abhishek and Kartik have secured qualification in the 5k event. "I'm happy that I won here this time. It's my third time here at TCS World 10K - I placed 4th in 2017 but couldn't finish in 2019 because of a knee injury."
The hot and humid conditions that emerged after consistent showers through the night before the race did little to dispel the spirits of the amateur athletes running in the Open 10K that kicked off at 5:30 am on Sunday and the categories that followed - Senior Citizens' Run, Champions with Disabilities and Majja Run - all categories where participants ran for a cause close to their heart.
Over 12000 people crossed the finish line in the Open 10K category while over 4800 people were part of the Majja Run, apart the Senior Citizen Run and Champions With Disability categories where participants were encouraged to turn out in unique costumes and run together as a group supporting their desired organisation. (ANI)