The three-time Olympic gold medalist Ethiopian superb athlete Kenenisa Bekele will be back to London Marathon to challenge the last year’s champion the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and other world’s best athletes.

The 36th Annual London Marathon that is set to take place on Sunday, April 24 will put together 38,000 world-class athletes and fund-raisers. .

The multi-world-record breaking track champion, Kenenisa Bekele, is keen to make his mark on a long awaited return to the roads. Kenenisa is hoping for a repeat of his early age achievements in London with only five months away from the Rio Olympics.

Kenenisa’s recent victory in this distance was in 2014 when he won the Paris Marathon in 2:05:04 before finishing fourth in Chicago that October.

Injury kept him out of action in 2015, and he hopes to a nostalgic come back with victory in London.

He said that he will work hard to regain his form fighting against the current big names from Kenya. “Running against the Kenyans giants such as Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson and others is a great opportunity for me this time to test my position. No doubt they will make it a fast and wonderful race. I know that London marathon is one of the toughest fields I ever faced,” the great athlete said.

Ethiopia’s talented quartet also includes Tilahun Regassa, who was fifth in London last year, 2015 Tokyo Marathon champion Endeshaw Negesse, plus last year’s Rotterdam champion Abera Kuma, all men who have run quicker than 2:06:00. Endeshaw Negesse who has the best time of 2:04:52, Tilahun Regassa with a time of 2:05:27 and Abera Kuma 2:05:56 are expected to give hard time against the neighboring Kenyans in London.

For Kenenisa Bekele, this will be a very decisive race after sidelined for a year due to injury. He is not running in pursuit of one of the world’s most prestigious prizes. For him the stake in London goes far beyond that. A win will give him an automatic place in the national Rio Olympic squad. Even if he gets the minimum time the athletics sensation is highly likely to get a place to travel to Rio representing the country for the fourth successive Olympics.

Admitting the possible challenge from Ethiopians last year’s champion Eliud Kipchoge is hoping for a repeat against 2014 champion Wilson Kipang in one of the world’s most famous and colorful races.

Media reports confirm that Kipchoge beat two-time champion Wilson Kipsang by just five seconds in a thrilling sprint finish at the end of last year’s 35th race, with fellow Kenyan and world record-holder Dennis Kimetto left trailing in their wake in third place.

Kipchoge’s winning time of 2:04:42 was just outside Kipsang’s course record of 2:04:29 set in 2014. The 2003 world 5000m champion went on to win the Berlin Marathon last September in a personal best of 2:04:00.

He is now sixth on the world all-time list for the distance behind Kimetto’s historic best of 2:02:57 and Kipsang’s former world record of 2:03:23.

Kimetto also returns to London in 2016 hoping to improve on his third place last year. Stanley Biwott is the fourth outstanding Kenyan in the field, running in London for the fourth time after finishing fourth last year, second in 2014 and eighth in 2013.

Biwott should be full of confidence after an impressive victory at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon.

“It was fantastic to win the Virgin Money London Marathon last year against one of the greatest fields ever assembled in marathon running,” said Kipchoge.

Kipchoge’s record of five wins and one second place from six marathon starts since 2013 will make him the marginal favorite. But the elite men’s field contains the top five finishers from 2015, five men who have run the 26.2-mile distance faster than 2:05:00, and 16 who have finished quicker than 2:10:00.

Kenenisa Bekele has always shown great form in international arena with victories in 2004 and 2008 Olympics but he was unable to retain his position in London Olympics in 2012. Mo Farah succeeded in beating him in 10, 000 meters in London. This will be the best for him to recover from the long shadow.

Source: The Ethiopian Herald
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