Kandie and Obiri lead fight for 10km honours in India after 3-year break

 July 30, 2021. Hellen Obiri of Kenya in action during Heat 2 REUTERS

A team of Kenyan stars will be facing off tomorrow in India as Bengaluru 10km road race returns after a three-year hiatus.

Former half marathon world record holder Kibiwott Kandie and world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri will be leading the prestigious elite field that also has a strong Ethiopian team.

The strong field will be eying the rich prize money offered by the TCS World 10km Bengaluru.

The elite field has athletes with the pedigree of writing history in one of the world’s famous 10km races.

According to organisers, the race’s prize purse is US$210,000 (Sh24.3 million), with winners in the men’s and women’s categories each bagging US$26,000 (Sh3 million). Also on offer in the Sunday race are course record bonuses of US$8,000 (Sh928,800).

Kandie, who broke the half marathon world record in December 2020 will be battling for the Bengaluru title with compatriots Nicholas Kimeli and Bravin Kipkogei.

Kimeli was the 2017 African Under-20 10,000m champion on the track and has been in good shape this season, with a 12:55 (second finish) in 5km in road racing last month at the Adizero Road to Records in Germany.

He finished fourth in the 5000m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year.

Kipkogei succeeded Kimeli as the African Under-20 10,000m champion in 2019 and sent a signal when he finished sixth in the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon, the race in which Kandie set a world record of 57:32. Kipkogei had gone to the Valencia half marathon as a pacesetter.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui will also be taking part in the Indian race.

Tanui, 31, has been competing in the track for many years. He started off road racing in Bengaluru three years ago where he recorded his 28:39 personal best in 10km, finishing sixth in the 2019 edition. The race did not take place in 2020, 2020 and 2021 because of Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition to his Rio Olympics silver medal, Tanui has three world bronze medals in 10,000m to his name as well as a World Cross Country silver medal (in 2011).

Reigning world 5,000m champion Muktar Edris of Ethiopia and his compatriot Tadese Worku, the World Under-20 3,000m champion are taking impressive CVs in the track to the road race.

The 2015 world U20 cross country champion Yasin Haji, also from Ethiopia, who has been in great shape will be taking part.

Obiri, a double Olympic silver medallist, will be making her debut in Bengaluru. Obiri will be facing off compatriot winner of the Agnes Tirop Cross Country Classic in February, Joyce Tele.

Tele had placed second at the Berlin Half marathon in April, recording her 1:05:50 personal best in the distance.