Bekele primed for Dubai marathon

Dubai, Jan 18 (IANS) Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele said here on Wednesday that he returns to the Dubai Marathon, to be held on Friday, in order to erase his disappointment from January 2015 when he had to drop out during the run due to an injury.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the media briefing ahead of the 2017 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon where 30,000 runners are expected, Bekele said: “Of course, I want to win, I want to run a good time.

“In the year 2015 I had not a great start, because I got injured at the Dubai Marathon and dropped out at kilometre 30. So now hopefully as I come back I feel fit and healthy,” said the Ethiopian elite runner, reports Xinhua.

Bekele missed the men’s world record (2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds) of Dennis Kimetto from Kenya by just six seconds when he won the Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2016. He said he did not run in Dubai last year “because I was not 100 per cent healthy at that time”.

Asked who he considers his biggest rival, the 34-year-old three-time Olympic champion replied diplomatically: “Certainly the other runners from my home country Ethiopia and from Kenya.”

Dubai Marathon 2014 winner Tsegaye Mekonnen from Ethiopia will also be at the start line near the seven star hotel Burj Al Arab on the coming Friday morning, 6.30 am local time when the marathon starts.

From Kenya, Samuel Ndungu will participate whose personal best stands at 2:07:04.

The run’s title sponsor British bank Standard Chartered announced an additional bonus of $250,000 for any runner who can break the world record. The winners in both the men’s and women’s races will take away a cheque over $200,000.

–IANS

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