Dubai: This year’s TCS World 10K run in Bengaluru, India, will have a special flavour — with the UAE’s Alia Mohammad Saeed among a world-class field at the race on Sunday.
Alia will be one of the few golden label long-distance runners from across the world who have been invited to participate in the run, organised and promoted by Procam International in cooperation with sponsors Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Alia, who won gold in the track 10,000 metres at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, will have to contend with challengers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Bahrain and Belarus during the race.
Heading the field will be the Kenyans led by London 2017 World Championships bronze medallist and Bengaluru record holder Agnes Tirop and 2018 Safaricom Imenti South Road Race champion, Evaline Chirchir.
The Ethiopian contingent will be led by 2019 Valencia 10k champion Tsehay Gemechu, alongside Senbere Teferi, Netsanet Gudeta, Dera Dida and Letesenbet Gidey.
Rose Chelimo will be representing neighbouring Bahrain, while the elite field will be completed by Belarussian Volha Mazuronak.
The Ethiopian duo of Gemechu and Teferi head the timesheet with best efforts of 30.15 minutes and 30.38 minutes over the distance followed by Kenya’s Chirchir (30.43) and Tirop (30.50) not too far away.
Alia’s best time is 31.36 minutes making Ahmad Al Kamali, President of the UAE Athletics Federation (UAE AF) hopeful for a good result from the 25-year-old representing the UAE in Bengaluru.
“This is a wonderful opportunity provided to Alia by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Our two countries have always shared so much in common and it is an honour for one of our top athletes to go and see where she stands as she continues her preparations towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Al Kamali told Gulf News.
“As we have seen in the past, Alia can be competitive on her day. She has been training well at our base camp in Addis Ababa, and her time will give us an indicator of how much improvement she can show leading on to yet another Olympic Games,” he added.
Tirop re-wrote the course record last year with a time of 31.19 minutes, while the men’s race record of 27.44 minutes stands in the name of fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor.
Sunday’s action gets underway with the women’s race at 7am (5.30 am UAE), followed by the men’s race at 8am. The top ten winners in each section stand to win cash prizes starting from $26,000 (Dh95,000) for the two champions going right down to $1,000 for tenth place.