Kipchoge relishes Bekele challenge in rescheduled London marathon

Thursday, May 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Men’s Marathon World record holder Eliud Kipchoge acknowledges fans support after finishing the sub two hour race in Vienna, Austria in October last year. Photo/PD/AFP

Nairobi, Wednesday

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is relishing the challenge to face Berlin marathon champion Kenenisa Bekele in London on October 4.

Speaking in Eldoret, Kipchoge said his top priority at the moment is to remain healthy and safe from the risk of catching COVID-19.

However, he also confirmed that he has the rescheduled London marathon on his card and the duel with Bekele will be great.

“Of course the coronavirus has shred all plans we had preparing for the April race in London. But what I want to confirm is that the desire and will to run against Bekele in October is still there.

The race hopefully, will be in October, should the health situation improve,” said Kipchoge on Tuesday from Eldoret.

While distributing relief food to vulnerable athletes, in a joint effort with government, Kipchoge acknowledged that the postponement of the London marathon to October was stressful.

“It did wreck the plans I had and now I am not training as freely as I wanted. I train alone and it is hard.

But my top priority, which is the same for all humans at the moment, is to be safe,” he said.

London marathon director Hugh Brasher has confirmed that they are recalling all the elite athletes who were originally committed for this year’s race, which was due to take place on April 26.

The rescheduled race is due to take place on Oct. 4. That means also the super clash between Kipchoge and Bekele should be possible if traveling restrictions, imposed by governments to fight COVID-19 are lifted and international air transport resumes. 

“Of course my race against Bekele is still on,” said Kipchoge. Last year in Berlin, where Kipchoge had set a world record in 2018 of 2:01:39, Ethiopia’s Bekele rose up to the challenge and was only two seconds off the world record clocking 2:01:41.  

“I am looking forward to racing against Eliud again. We have had many great battles over the years,” Bekele said in February.

Bekele’s marathon career has been hindered by various injuries, but his close shave to the record has shown he is the man capable to challenge Kipchoge.

The pair have met 20 times on track and marathon course since 2003. Bekele dominated the track, but Kipchoge has led in the marathon.

Kipchoge has won all four of their marathon meetings with the last being two years ago in London where the Kenyan won while the Ethiopian was sixth-placed. - Xinhua

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