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London - Twice Olympic and four-times world 10,000 metres champion Haile Gebrselassie plans to run his final competitive track race over the distance in Hengelo, Netherlands, next month.
The Ethiopian, who will turn 39 on Wednesday, dominated over 25 laps in the 1990s before switching to road racing and the marathon after the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
“This will be my last 10,000 metres race,” Gebrelassie told a news conference in Vienna on Monday, the day after he beat women's marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe in their half-marathon head-to-head in the Austrian capital. The Briton was given a head start of seven minutes 52 seconds.
“But I still feel good. There is only a small difference compared to 2011. I am just a bit slower now.”
Gebrselassie will run the 10,000 at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo on May 27.
The athlete dubbed the “Emperor” will compete in the Great Manchester Run (10 kms) one week earlier but the twilight of his glittering career is unlikely to bring selection in the Ethiopian marathon team for the London Olympics.
The former marathon world record holder's efforts to record a time to impress his country's selectors have floundered.
He dropped out of the Berlin Marathon, when he lost his world record to Kenyan Patrick Makau, in September last year because of breathing problems and in the Tokyo Marathon in February he could finish only fourth, clocking a disappointing time of 2:08:17 after targeting a sub-2:05 run.
Eighteen of his compatriots have clocked faster marathon times this year. – Reuters