Reigning world cross country champions Japhet Korir and Emily Chebet lead a strong cast of runners in this year’s TCS World 10K Bangalore to be held on May 19.

The Kenyan duo triumphed at the 40th IAAF world cross country championships in Poland in March and represents a contingent that is expected to be faster than that seen in previous editions.   

Korir, a junior men’s African cross country champion, also won the Wurzburg Residenzlauf 10km run earlier this year. The 19-year-old will have, for competition, compatriots Moses Masai and Daniel Salel, the latter fresh off victory in the Cherry Blossom 10 mile run in Washington DC.

Kenya’s Silas Kipruto and Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese are also expected to be strong contenders.

A total of 14 men have personal bests under 28 minutes, giving organisers hope that the course record of 27.51 —set by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in 2008 — will be broken.

On the women’s side, Chebet will have for company Helah Kiprop, the defending champion and the winner of the Berlin Half Marathon earlier this year. Ethiopia’s Yimer Wude, who won the New Delhi half marathon last year and holds the existing course record of 31.58 in the TCS 10K (set in 2010), is also a leading contender, alongside Kenyans Esther Chemtai and Lucy Kabuu.

Announcing the elite field of 45 here on Wednesday, the organisers revealed that overall registrations for the event had crossed 23,000, an increase of 30 per cent over the previous edition. A bonus of $7,500 is on offer for breaking course records.

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