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.)     

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