Ethiopian marathoner Kenenisa Bekele on Friday shocked the world after withdrawing from Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
According to a statement by his management company Global Sports Communication, the athlete, unfortunately, suffered a calf injury.
The world was eagerly anticipating a ‘battle royale’ between the world’s two fastest marathon runners at the Virgin Money London Marathon this Sunday.
Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41) was ready to take on fellow NN Running Teammate and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:39) in a race for the ages.
London was going to be the first race back for Kenenisa after his astonishing performance at the 2019 BMW Berlin Marathon where he was only 2 seconds removed from the world record. In response to his withdrawal a dismayed Bekele said: “I am very disappointed that I cannot race on Sunday.”
“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 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.”
“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 realise many people around the world have been looking forward to this race and I am sorry to disappoint my fans, the organisers and my fellow competitors. I will take time to recover and become fit again and I hope to be back in London next year.”
In reaction to the news Jos Hermens, manager of Kenenisa and director of Global Sports Communication / NN Running Team said:
“The covid-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and had a big influence on the sports world in general, but also had a big influence specifically on the preparation of Kenenisa Bekele in the lead up to London Marathon.”
“On the level where we work it is a thin line between a top performance and staying healthy. The unusual circumstances complicated this situation unfortunately. We will work hard to get him back to the highest level again.”