Kenenisa Bekele. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of London Marathon and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Top marathon runner, Kenenisa Bekele, will not be participating in Sunday’s London Marathon.

He has pulled out of the event owing to a calf injury, information available on the website of London Marathon, said.

In a related video, the Ethiopian athlete who holds the second fastest time yet in the discipline can be heard saying that he picked up a minor injury two weeks earlier. “ We had really good training and more or less at the end of two weeks, I really pushed a little bit hard in training and I had some feeling in my left calf; a little bit. I feel like over-trained and after my physio checking about this, we tried to solve it but it’s really difficult to get enough and it’s really impossible to race on Sunday. I am not ready because of not solving these minor issues,’’ he says, adding, “ I am really disappointed for my fans; people who waited for this race. I am really disappointed too. I will come back next year. For now, I will not race on Sunday.’’

World record holder, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya and Bekele sharing the same field was supposed to be the main attraction of this year’s London Marathon. According to a press statement on the event’s website, Sunday would have been the first time Bekele raced since clocking 2:01:41 to win the 2019 BMW Berlin Marathon in September 2019. “ It has been a tough preparation time with lockdown when I couldn’t have my NN team around me. I was in good shape but then I picked up a niggle in my left calf after two fast training sessions too close together in the last weeks of preparation. I have been having treatment every day since then and I truly believed I would be ready but today it is worse and I now know I cannot race on it,’’ the statement dated October 2, quoted him as saying.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, has said, “ the world has been waiting to see this head to head between Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge but it will now not happen this Sunday. We know how disappointed he is and we wish him a speedy recovery. This was never likely to be just a two-man race as we had four of the top ten fastest marathon runners ever and six men in the field who have broken 2:05, including Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun, second and third last year, and 2018 runner-up Shura Kitata.” All the three runners mentioned herein – Geremew, Wasihun and Kitata – are from Ethiopia. Kipchoge holds the current course record in London – 2:02:37 – set in 2019.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)     


This image was downloaded from the Facebook page of the film and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Very rarely has the demise of a judge assumed such proportions of loss and anxiety over what next, as the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.

RBG, as she was popularly known, was a champion of women’s rights and her work in the field, sustained for decades, was instrumental in ensuring gender equality before the law, in the US. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; in 1993 President Bill Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Her demise in September 2020 has left liberal political groups nervous given both the nature of conservative politics visible since the last US presidential elections and attempts to enhance the conservative element in the country’s Supreme Court. The latter assumes importance because in the system of checks and balances that is democracy, the judiciary plays a major role – it is often the final corrective force – and its dominance by any particular social, cultural or political flavor provides scope to change the character of a country temporarily. On the other hand, judges are human too.

Uniquely, the exploration of what makes judges what they are is as much fleshed out as the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg in RBG, the 2018 documentary film on her, currently available on Netflix. It is an excellent film about a journey in law and women’s rights, commencing in times when American law firms rarely hired a woman lawyer and the approach of law reflected society’s treatment of women, as subservient to men. This was despite the constitution promising equality. Starting with the case of a woman air force officer denied housing allowance for no reason other than her gender; RBG worked her way through several cases – including those seeking gender equality for men – to help lay the legal framework for a more just society. The documentary sheds light on her personal life; family, the professional rapport she shared with colleagues holding opposing political views and her eventual rise in old age to the status of an icon, a strong supporter of equality. We learn of not merely the cases she won but also the cases in which her opinion was minority and she registered her dissent. The words of dissent help us understand her position. Don’t miss this film. There is no better time to watch it than now when world over, the gains of liberal politics and diverse society are being undermined by conservative forces. Not to mention – it doesn’t matter if the subject is from another country; when it comes to democracy, the experience of one democratic nation is lesson for itself and others.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)