Bekele set for marathon debut

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iol spt jan9 Bakele REUTERS Ethiopian distance running great Kenenisa Bekele will make his marathon debut in Paris, race organisers said, putting on hold a high-profile rematch with Mo Farah. Photo by: Paul Vreeker

Paris – Ethiopian distance running great Kenenisa Bekele will make his marathon debut in Paris, race organisers said Thursday, putting on hold a high-profile rematch with Mo Farah.

Bekele's participation in the Paris Marathon on April 6 follows his first half marathon at the Great North Run in Britain in September, which he won by a second ahead of Britain's Farah, the Olympic champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Farah is due to debut in the distance a week later at the London Marathon on April 13.

The 31-year-old Bekele won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the world championships in Berlin the following year. The 30-year-old Farah matched that feat by claiming the long-distance double at the 2012 London Games and at last year's worlds in Moscow.

They are the only two men to have held the Olympic and world titles in the 5,000 and 10,000 at the same time.

Bekele is still the world record-holder in both the 5,000 and 10,000 but has struggled with injuries over the past few years and hasn't won a major title since the Berlin worlds in 2009.

He finished fourth and some way behind Farah in the 10,000 final at the London Olympics. – Sapa-AP


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