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Gebrselassie could fail to make Games

STRUGGLE: Gebrselassie in Tokyo

ETHIOPIAN TWO-TIME Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie could miss out on the London 2012 Games after recording a disappointing time in the Tokyo marathon on Sunday (February 26).

The 38-year-old won gold in the 10,000m at the 1996 and 2000 Games and also has four world championship titles over the same distance.

However, the time he set in Toyko of two hours , eights minutes and 17 seconds is only the 14th fastest by an Ethiopian so far this year and this could greatly affect his chances of being among the three Ethiopians eligible to run at the Games this summer.

Kenyan Michael Kipyego came from behind to win in 2:07:37 and Gebrselassie ,who finished fourth, failed to meet his pre-race target of two hours and five minutes.

He has struggled over the last two years, failing to finish the 2010 New York City marathon and pulling out of 2011 Toyko contest after getting an injury in training.


GLORY DAYS: Gebrselassie wins Olympic gold in 1996.

Gebrselassie, who switched to road running after the 2004 Olympics and has won nine marathons, described the last 5km of the race as ‘the worst I’ve ever run’ and added that he had been having problems with his back.

“I was running ok until 35-36km but my back started to hurt at the final downhill of the course,” said Gebrselassie.

“In fact my back felt uncomfortable from the morning. I am not tired. I feel fresh. I can run another marathon in two weeks. No problem.

"Sometimes you are too ambitious. This can happen. My target was 2:05 today but it didn't work out that way.”

Although his time was well under the qualifying time of 2:15:00, four of his compatriots have already broken the 2:05.00 barrier during the qualifying period. Gebrselassie will still have the chance to set a better time until July with races in Rotterdam and Paris coming up ahead of the Olympics.

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