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Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele Withdraws From London Marathon

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele has withdrawn from Sunday’s London Marathon with a calf injury, robbing an athletics-starved audience of a showdown with Kenyan world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

“I am very disappointed that I cannot race on Sunday,” said Bekele.

“I was in good shape but then I picked up a niggle in my left calf after two fast training sessions close together in the last weeks of preparation.”

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Sunday’s marathon around the British capital has been touted as one of the most eagerly anticipated running events of the coronavirus-hit year.

Deprived of the Olympic Games and a host of other top track meets, the 42.2km (26-mile) circuit around London had been set up as a battle royal between two running legends, Britain’s multi-medalled Mo Farah was even brought in to act as a pacemaker.

Bekele, who set a personal best of 2hr 01min 41sec in the Berlin Marathon last year, would have pitched himself against Kipchoge, who holds the world record of 2:01:39 — just two seconds faster than the Ethiopian.

“It has been a tough preparation time, with lockdown, when I couldn’t have my ‘NN’ team around me,” said Bekele, referring to his management team.

The 38-year-old Ethiopian, who has won a staggering 26 gold medals on the world, Olympic and continental stages, said he had been undergoing daily treatment on his calf.

“I truly believed I would be ready, but today it is worse and I now know I cannot race on it,” he said.

“This race was so important to me. My time in Berlin last year gave me great confidence and motivation and I was looking forward to show that again, I have worked so hard for it.

“I realize many people around the world have been looking forward to this race and I am sorry to disappoint my fans, the organizers and my fellow competitors.”

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Written by PH

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