Friday, February 25, 2011

Tokyo cancelled: Haile G

AP reports

Haile Gebrselassie fell and injured both knees while training in the rugged countryside of Ethiopia, sidelining the long-distance running great for up to six weeks.

The world-record holder withdrew from Sunday's Tokyo Marathon and it's unclear if he can run the half marathon in Vienna on April 17.

"I am really disappointed as I felt great in training, and I was ready to show something special again," Gebrselassie said Thursday in a statement.

Gebrselassie trains in barren land outside Addis Ababa. After he fell his knee hit a rock, causing bruising. He kept running and, to compensate for the pain, put too much pressure on his other leg. That caused an injury to the other knee, said Marleen Rennings, a spokeswoman from his management company.

Gebrselassie pulled out of the New York City Marathon in November with a knee injury and immediately said he would retire. He changed his mind eight days later. He has since been focusing on the London Olympic marathon.

Rennings said it's uncertain if he will be able to run in Vienna.

"We have to wait and see how quickly he recovers," Rennings said. "It is going to be tight. The injury takes four to six weeks."

Gebrselassie is widely regarded as one of the greatest distance runners. He has won two Olympic gold medals and four world titles in the 10,000 meters. He set the marathon world record of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds in Berlin two years ago.

The Tokyo Marathon was expected to be the 37-year-old runner's first major race in his return. He won a tough 10,000-meter race in a year-end race in Angola. Despite missing the spring marathons, Gebrselassie is to compete in an undetermined race in the fall.

Gebrselassie skipped the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, fearing pollution would affect his running. He ran the 10,000 instead and finished sixth.