Ethiopian runners swept the honours, completing a 1-2 finish among Elite men and women with Mosinet Geremew and Mamitu Daska emerging champions at the eighth World 10K run here on Sunday.
In ideal running conditions following heavy rains on Saturday, Geremew came up with a brilliant finish to win in 28 minutes, 16 seconds, well outside the course record of 27.44 as fellow Ethiopian Fikadi Seboka came in second (28:18), followed by Kenyan Edwin Kiptoo (28:20).
In contrast, it was Daska all the way among Elite women as she destroyed the challenge with searing pace that saw her cross the finish line in 31:57, nine seconds off the course record with compatriot Wude Ayalew (32:10) in second spot and Gladys Chesir of Kenya completing the podium in 32:12.
The two winners went home richer by $21,000 apiece while the second placed runners received $15,000 and the third spot fetched $9,000.
It was Kenyan Japhet Korir, the 2013 World Cross Country Champion, who set early pace, pulling along nine others as a bunch of 10 broke away from the rest. The front-running pack also included Olympic gold medallist Micah Kogo from Kenya, who tucked himself in sixth position and biding his time.
Past the halfway mark, Ethiopian Fikadi Seboka took over with Korir dropping back to 10th and eventually out of contention while Edwin Kiptoo in close attendance, followed by Kogo and Geremew, formed a four-man unit that pulled away from the field.
With about 2 km left, Kiptoo took over the front-running ahead of Seboka, Geremew and Kogo. The foursome had opened up a 14-second lead over the rest, who struggled to keep pace. Hereabouts, Geremew made his move, slipping past Seboka and Kiptoo even as Kogo, who was expected to fare much better, fading away from the podium contest.
The positions remained unchanged as Geremew came up with a finishing kick to just about hold off Seboka and Kiptoo with two seconds separating each of the trio.
"It is my third time in India and the motivation that I have received from the people has been commendable. This was a difficult run and the competition was tough to say the least, but I am glad to have come out on top," said Geremew.
Suresh Kumar topped the field among Indians with a course record of 29:49 (old record 29:59) which earned him Rs.2 lakh bonus besides the prize money of Rs.2.5 lakh.
"I had made up my mind to come here with the sole purpose of breaking records. I felt the conditions were ideal for running, so in the morning, I knew there was a great opportunity to achieve my target. When the race was flagged off, I stayed focused at the task on hand and didn't look over my shoulder for the competition," said Suresh.
Later, a high-quality Elite women's field dished out a truly world-class fare as Jakline Chepngeno played the role of pace-setter to lead a bunch of half-a-dozen runners tightly packed. It was not long before Daska, who had positioned herself in sixth in the forward bunch, stepped up to take charge with compatriot Ayalew in tow.
The two Ethiopians gradually increased the gap while Daska made a decisive move about 2 km from finish, leaving Ayalew behind and went on to win by a comfortable margin.
"I am really happy to end the run on a winning note. Though I was comfortable for the first 4 km, it got a bit tougher. However, I took initiative to push myself after that and crossed the finish line before my competition," said Daska.
Among Indian women, Surya L. ran a tremendous race to emerge a clear winner ahead of last year's winner Swati Gadhave and Monika Athare.