‘The streets, the
people, the city, and the culture here in Bengaluru reminded me of my hometown
Barcelona’ –Former Women’s World No 1 tennis Champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
The TCS World
10K Bengaluru is one of the richest marathons in the world running circuit and
draws many top athletes from all over the world to Bengaluru every May. The
marathon has a total prize fund of $213,000, with the men’s and women’s winners
each taking home $26,000.
This year, an
estimated 25,000 runners took to the roads for five different races in what has
become one of the highlights of Bengaluru’s sporting calendar. In addition to
the TCS World 10K for elite runners, there is an Open 10K, the Majja Run (5km)
the Senior Citizens’ Race and Champions with Disability Race (both 4 km).
This year Andamlak Belihu
of Ethiopia won the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019 marathon title. In the women’s
category, Kenya’s Agnes Tirop again won the title, becoming the first woman to
win back-to-back titles in the 12-year history of the Bengaluru race.
In the quest to keep
raising the profile of the event, Procam International, promoters of the IAAF
Gold Label Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Bengaluru, the world’s premier
10K run, chose former women’s World No. 1 tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
as the International Event Ambassador.
Spanish legend who won 14 Grand Slam titles, including four in singles, is the
most decorated Spanish Olympian having won four medals.
Sanchez spoke to the Center for Soft Power during her visit to Bengaluru for
role has running played in your training as a top tennis player?
Running has played an
important part in my career and I think it is the easiest way to keep your mind
and body sound. Sport has the ability to connect communities beyond the
competitive spirit, and instil a sense of pride amongst all and celebrate
accomplishments. Running has managed to do just that. It was exciting that my
association to this sport in India began with the TCS World 10K in Bengaluru. I
was overwhelmed to be there on the start line with all the runners and enjoy
the infectious energy on race day.
does Bangalore strike you as a ‘running’ capital?
Running is a sport that
has no barriers and TCS World 10K is a great example of it. Not only it
promotes healthy lifestyle and physical well-being but it also promotes
togetherness and the feeling of giving back to the community. The city of
Bengaluru has taken to running like second skin, and the participation numbers
are a testament to that.
does India rate in such premier races?
The fact that this IAAF
Gold Label event in India resonates with a Spanish athlete like me and
convinces me to become the International Event Ambassador says a lot about how
sport brings the world together. The event also had elite runners from around
the world coming in to compete. For the fact that year on year, Procam
International does everything right that they earned the Gold Label and
interest in participation from athletes around the world.
are impressions about India?
India never ceases to
surprise me. But I have to admit that this trip for the TCS World 10K Bengaluru
was the best I have been on so far. The streets, the people, the city, and the
culture here in Bengaluru reminded me of my hometown Barcelona. And then the
Race Day on Sunday morning was so overwhelming. Over 25000 runners gathered
inside one venue, warming up together and then hitting the road at the break of
the dawn was a sight to see.