×

• Kenenisa Bekele: “I proved what I can do“

Article source:


It was one of the best duels in marathon history and with his victory Kenenisa Bekele proved himself once and for all that he is a world class performer at the distance. 

The 34-year-old Ethiopian’s win in 2:03:03 in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on Sunday, a mere six seconds outside the world record, was the second fastest ever on an officially approved course and the fastest in the world this year. It also gave Bekele particular satisfaction in making him the Ethiopian record holder. That honour had belonged to another legend of distance running, Haile Gebrselassie, who broke the world record here in Berlin with 2:03:59 in 2008. 


Given Sunday’s performance, the world record of 2:02:57, set by Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto in Berlin two year ago, is very much within Bekele’s reach. Opinions were divided beforehand whether Kenenisa Bekele could produce such a strong performance since the previous races in his marathon career had been an emotional rollercoaster. He made his debut in Paris in 2014 with a speedy 2:05:04, a time which Bekele described in the week before Berlin as “slow, compared to the top runners.” He didn’t exactly make headlines with fourth place in Chicago six months later, clocking 2:05:51 and failed to finish Dubai in January 2015. 

A return of the achilles injury which had troubled him for so long left the 5 and 10,000m world record holder operating on an apparently restricted training regime but he made an impressive return with third place in 2:06:36 in London in April 2016. To his dismay, this wasn’t enough to convince the Ethiopian selectors that he was worth a place in the Olympic marathon team for Rio.

Three times on Sunday, Wilson Kipsang, the eventual runner-up in his own personal best of 2:03:13, led by between 5 and 25 metres, yet every time Kenenisa Bekele fought back to draw level. Was he surprised to be able to call on such reserves? “No, I knew I had trained well and what I could run. Between 25 and 35 kilometres I had a few problems but I knew what my strengths were,” reflected Bekele.

When Kenenisa Bekele turned to the marathon in the spring of 2014, he had two major targets in mind: the world record and winning the Olympic marathon in the summer of 2016 in Rio. He showed in Berlin on Sunday that he is capable of breaking the world record. Bekele is sure he can run faster than 2:03:03. “The race was fantastic but I must make a couple of changes in training,” he said, having made sure he had his own physiotherapist accompany him from Addis Abeba to Berlin.
 
Achieving his second goal, that of winning the Olympic marathon title, appears to be less likely. Rio would certainly have been his best chance. “I believe the selectors understand now why I complained at the time at not being selected. I’ve proved what I can do by this race in Berlin,” said Kenenisa Bekele. But his manager Jos Hermens believes there may still be a chance of fulfilling his Olympic dream: “In 2020 Kenenisa will be 38 – why not? You should never give up. I see a career as being like a candle which, of course, at some stage goes out. But in recent years Kenenisa’s has not been burning much.”
 
In the short term Kenenisa Bekele is giving serious consideration to running the World Championships in London next year. “If the federation select me, I’ll run the World Championships in London.”

More information is available online at: www.berlin-marathon.com 

Photo credit: www.photorun.net



Latest Videos
» Live Stream Athletics
» Texas Tech Classic, Lubbock, Texas - Live Stream
Thursday, Jan 24th at 19:00 (UTC)
» New Balance Indoor Grand Prix - Live Stream
Saturday, Jan 26th at 20:00 (UTC)
» ISTAF Indoor 2019 (Berlin, GER) - Live Stream
Friday, Feb 1st at 17:00 (UTC)
» Combined Events Tallinn 2019 - Live Stream
Saturday, Feb 2nd at 09:00 (UTC)
» Indoor Meeting - Karlsruhe - Live Stream
Saturday, Feb 2nd at 18:00 (UTC)
» Flash News
• IAAF APPROVES THE APPLICATION OF 42 RUSSIAN ATHLETES TO COMPETE INTERNATIONALLY AS NEUTRAL ATHLETES

The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 42 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2019 under competition Rule 22.1A(b) while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended.

 

January 22, 2019 See More on: IAAF.ORG

• ALEMU AND LAGAT TAKE TOP HONOURS IN MUMBAI

Ethiopia’s Worknesh Alemu and Kenya’s Cosmas Lagat upset the formbook and produced outstanding performances in hot conditions to triumph at the Tata Mumbai Marathon on Sunday (20), winning at the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2:25:45 and 2:09:15 respectively. Both marks were the second fastest winning times in the history of the event, the pair taking first prize cheques of USD $45,000.

January 20, 2019 See More on: IAAF.ORG

• Stefanidi opens season with huge 4.74m clearance in Reno

Current Olympic, World and European champion Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece opened her 2019 indoor season with a massive 4.74m clearance at the World's biggest pole vault meet, the UCS Pole Vault Summit, in Reno, Nevada on Friday night. (Women's top 3 Stefanidi 4.74 m; Nageotte 4.74m, and Jacobus 4.66m). (Men top 3: Ludwig 5.71m, Yamamoto 5.71m, and Irwin 5.61m).

January 19, 2019 See More on: IAAF.ORG

• Vivian Cheruiyot and Mary Keitany lead London Marathon women's elite field

The defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot and the current TCS New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany return to the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2019. They join their compatriots Gladys Cherono (2018 Berlin Marathon champion) and Brigid Kosgei (2018 Chicago Marathon champion) meaning the winners of the last four Abbott World Marathon Majors will be on the Start Line in London on Sunday 28 April.

January 19, 2019 See More on: Londonmarathon

Past Headlines Latest Results Upcoming Events
Watch Athletics
©2019 WATCHATHLETICS.COM. All rights reserved.