Gebrselassie doubtful for Beijing marathon
BRUSSELS: The pollution and heat could keep Ethiopian distance great Haile Gebrselassie out of the Beijing Olympic marathon.
Gebrselassie already has two 10,000m Olympic titles and also holds the world record in the marathon. He would be the gold medal favourite in the Beijing marathon on the final day of the games, but health fears may rule him out.
“We have our doubts,” Gebrselassie’s manager, Jos Hermens, said on Tuesday. “It is an extremely dangerous marathon.”
Concerns about Beijing’s pollution have dominated preparations for the games, and the effectiveness of measures to combat the smog remains to be seen. That it will be extremely hot is already a given.
“He has a bit of a lung condition as well,” Hermens said, referring to Gebrselassie’s pollen allergy. “So, all in all, is it worth it?”
Hermens’ management team also looked into the hottest marathon races over the past 20 years and found that many of the top finishers never truly recovered for the rest of their careers, something which scares the 34-year-old Gebrselassie.
“What he says is: ‘Great if I win, but if it means the end of my career then I really don’t feel like it,”’ Hermens said in a telephone interview. “He is convinced he still has a real chance” to win the marathon at the 2012 London Olympics. – AP