India's leading middle and long-distance runners remained confident of a good showing ahead of Sunday's TCS World 10K run here.
With separate prize money for Indian athletes, amounting to Rs.17.70 lakh, the event has drawn the defending champions of the last three editions, and the male and female winners of the Mumbai Marathon and the Delhi Half-Marathon.
Interacting with the newspersons, National Games men's 10,000m champion Suresh Kumar said he felt certain of a first place finish. “I'll win the gold,” he stated. Claiming he was undaunted by the strength of the competition, Suresh said he only had to fight with himself.
Defending champion Sunil Kumar and Indrajeet Patel, the fastest in the field with a best of 28:53 minutes, were also present at Friday's “meet and greet” gathering.
Defending women's champion and Bangalore native Preethi L. Rao, meanwhile, hoped for a repeat of last year. “It is great that such an event is happening in my hometown,” she said. “The whole of Karnataka will be watching. I'd love to win.”
Rao will have to compete with 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games 10,000m medallist Kavita Raut. The latter said she always ran with her time, and not position, in mind.
“I will try to do well on Sunday.” Also present on the occasion was Sudha Singh, a gold medallist in the 3000m steeplechase at the Asiad. “My target is the Olympics but I'm looking forward to participating here,” she said.
The Timex race timer of the TCS World 10K run was later unveiled at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the event's Start-Finish area, by Kenyan ‘Elite Women' runners Edna Kiplagat and Doris Changeywo.
Kiplagat, the 2010 New York City Marathon champion, said she was eager to do well on her first visit to India.
“I know the field is strong; so I'm a little nervous,” she said. “It's a faster course; hence I had to change my training. It will give me an idea of where I stand.”
Keywords: TCS World 10K run