RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
VIDEO SHOWS: SOUNDBITE FROM KENENISA BEKELE WHO HAS PULLED OUT OF LONDON MARATHON / OVERLAID WITH TRAINING SHOTS
SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 2, 2020) (LONDON MARATHON HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)
1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KENENISA BEKELE SAYING (OVERLAID WITH TRAINING SHOTS):
"I have bad news. I will not race on Sunday, because I have tried my way to solve it. I had two weeks ago some minor injuries. I had really good training at the end of the two weeks. I really pushed a little bit hard training and I had some feeling, my left calf a little bit, just I feel like I overtrained and after my physio checking about this we tried to solve you know. But it is really difficult to get enough and it is really impossible to race on Sunday. And I am not ready because of not solving this minor issues. But of course I know London Marathon have worked hard. Really I want to thank them to bring really this strong races together and really I am disappointed for my fans, people who are waiting for this race. I am really disappointed too. I will come back next year but for now I am not going to race on Sunday."
STORY: Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathon runner in history, has withdrawn from Sunday's (October 4) London race with a calf injury which has put paid to his showdown with Kenya's world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.
Bekele said on Friday (October 2) he picked up the injury after "two fast training sessions too close together", leaving Kipchoge as an even hotter favourite to win his fifth London Marathon title, with the race being run on a new, multi-lap course at St James's Park.
Bekele's time of two hours one minute and 41 seconds in Berlin was two seconds shy of Kipchoge's world record set on the same course a year earlier.
Kipchoge ran 1:59.40 in an unofficial race in Vienna last October but, as COVID 19 wiped out much of the year's athletics programme, Sunday would have been both men's first race for a year.
Bekele's withdrawal is a huge blow to organisers and the BBC who are screening the men's, women's and wheelchair races live.
Race director Hugh Brasher has managed to organise an elite-only event on a fenced-off route, with the finish line on The Mall, the same as the normal course.
Wet, windy weather also means a world record attempt is unlikely, taking the edge off what will be the only major marathon to have been held since March.
(Production: Iain Axon)