Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele - the second fastest marathon runner in history - has been forced to withdraw from Sunday's London Marathon, a Tokyo 2020 qualifier, after suffering a calf injury in training.
Just two days before the highly anticipated London Marathon, the Ethiopian distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele has been forced to pull out with a calf injury. In a statement on Friday 2 October, Bekele expressed his disappointment saying: "I am very disappointed that I cannot race on Sunday.
“It has been a tough preparation time with lockdown when I couldn’t have my team around me. I was in good shape but then I picked up a niggle in my left calf after two fast training sessions too close together in the last weeks of preparation.
“I have been having treatment every day since then and I truly believed I would be ready but today it is worse and I now know I cannot race on it."
Sunday's race would have been the first time Bekele had raced since setting a time of 2:01:41 in last year's Berlin marathon. It also means the world will miss out on his highly-anticipated clash with world record holder Eliud Kipchoge - a duel that had been dubbed 'the race of the century.'
In a glittering career, Bekele won three Olympic titles and five World Championship golds before moving to the longer marathon distance. And having come within two seconds of breaking Eliud Kipchoge's marathon record last year in Berlin, the stage was set for an epic battle between two of athletics' biggest stars.
Kipchoge's closest rival in Sunday's race now looks set to be Mosinet Geremew, who finished 18 seconds behind the Kenyan at last year's London Marathon.
The Men’s Elite race begins on Sunday 4 October at 10:15 a.m. BST.