Ethiopians end Kenyan reign

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Ethiopians end Kenyan reign
Rajeev K, May 17, 2015, Bengaluru, DHNS
Athletics World 10K : Super Geremew claims men’s title while Daska wears women’s crown
Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew. DH Photo.
Kenya’s long reign at the TCS World 10K ended on a cool and bright morning here on Sunday. Expectedly, it was an Ethiopian who snapped the five-year Kenyan streak, with Mosinet Geremew conquering the tough course conditions in a superb exhibition of controlled running.

Deriba Merga was the last Ethiopian to win in Bengaluru and that was in 2009. For five years in a row since then, Kenyans have made the winding course their territory but Geremew cared little about records or reputation, leading an Ethiopian one-two in a time of 28 minutes and 16 seconds.

An hour later, the Ethiopians found more reasons to rejoice as Mamitu Daska and Wude Ayalew claimed the first two places in the women’s section, dealing another blow to the Kenyan pride. Daska clocked 31:57 for her top position to join Geremew in celebrating the first Ethiopian double here since 2009, when Merga and Aslefech Mergia had won the Elite races.

Heavy rain on Saturday night had raised fears over the running of the event but it was largely smooth sailing on race day across all events, with the organisers putting in a tremendous effort in drainage and mopping up activity. As such, bad roads and stray dogs were the only threats as thousands of Bengalureans enjoyed their party on either side of the Elite races.

Having made steady progress in recent times, Geremew was expected to challenge the Kenyan might represented by the likes Micah Kogo and Japhet Korir. But with the athletes in no mood to relent, a clear picture emerged only well past the half-way mark which was reached in 14:05 seconds.

Kenya’s David Bett set the early pace, taking the runners through the first couple of kilometres in swift manner. Kogo, Edwin Kiptoo and Dickson Chumba formed the Kenyan component with Geremew, Fikadu Seboka and Birhanu Legese leading the Ethiopian bunch. Kogo had promised a front-running show but he largely remained at the back of the bunch even as Kiptoo did the lead act.

Past seven kilometres, Seboka led briefly but Kiptoo quickly hit the front again before he started to wilt in the final two kilometres. Geremew, seizing his chance, surged ahead in the last phase on the road and entered the stadium as the clear leader, followed by Seboka. Striding beautifully inside the stadium, Geremew widened his lead to finish a comfortable winner, with Seboka in second place at 28:18. Kiptoo’s third place came in 28:20 while Kogo was relegated to fourth spot in 28:20.

In contrast to the men’s event, Daska made her priorities evident past the half-way point in the women’s race, ran at a markedly slow pace in warmer conditions. Daska and compatriot Wude Ayalew were joined by Kenya’s Helah Kiprop, Gladys Chesir and Emily Chebet in the leading bunch as they reached the five-km mark in 16:10. Daska and Ayalew then pulled away, leaving Kiprop and Chesir behind, almost decisively so.

Chesir, though, fought back brilliantly to climb to second spot behind Daska as the athletes entered the stadium. Daska was a clear winner by this point but behind her, there was drama as Ayalew caught up with a tiring Chesir in the sprint to the finish, claiming the silver in 32:10, two seconds ahead of the Kenyan.

“I thought I had the second place but the Ethiopian proved too strong,” said Chesir, her statement holding good for both the Elite races of the day. Kenyans had been well and truly beaten by the Ethiopians, leaving them back to the drawing board.

Results: Elite Men: Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) 28:16, 1; Fikadu Seboka (Ethiopia) 28:18, 2; Edwin Kiptoo (Kenya) 28:20, 3. Elite Women: Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia) 31:57, 1; Wude Ayalew (Ethiopia) 32:10, 2; Gladys Chesir (Kenya) 32:12, 3.

Indian men: Suresh Kumar 29:49, 1; Kheta Ram 30:40, 2; Gopi T 30:42, 3.
Indian women: L Suriya 35:58, 1; Swati Gadhave 36:15, 2; Monika Athare 36:15, 3.

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