London, Jan 9 (IANS) Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele tops the list of world-class contenders for the men’s race at the 2017 London Marathon to be held on April 23, organisers said on Monday.
Already a triple Olympic champion and double world record holder on the track, Bekele, 34, became the world’s second fastest marathon runner of all time when he won the 2016 Berlin Marathon last September, reports Xinhua.
Bekele missed the world record by just six seconds when he crossed the finish line in the German capital in two hours three minutes and three seconds after a thrilling battle with former world record holder Wilson Kipsang.
It was the fastest marathon time in the world in 2016 and broke Haile Gebreselassie’s Ethiopian record.
Bekele made his London Marathon debut last April when he finished third behind the Kenyan duo of Eliud Kipchoge and Stanley Biwott.
“London is the greatest marathon in the world and I would love to win there,” said Bekele.
“The field is always the best and victory means so much. After finishing third last year, I know what I need to do to win.”
Biwott, who won the second place last year, is likely to be Bekele’s main rival as he leads the Kenyan challenge in the absence of two-time champion Kipchoge.
Also confirmed participants are Bekele’s compatriots and Rio Olympic silver medallist and Tokyo Marathon champion Feyisa Lilesa, the 2016 Dubai and Hamburg Marathon champion Tesfaye Abera.
Tilahun Regassa is aiming to make the London podium after finishing fifth and sixth in the last two years.
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