Kenenisa Bekele in time for Tokyo Olympics


Kenenisa Bekele missed out on the world record by just two seconds as he completed a remarkable comeback to win the Berlin Marathon.
The 37-year-old, who was 13 seconds off the lead late in the race, led an Ethiopian sweep of the podium as he crossed the line in two hours, one minute and 41 seconds, claiming the first prize, missing out on a bonus of 50,000 Euros he would have received for breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record, set by the Kenyan on the same course last year.
Olympic champion Kipchoge, who ran the current record of 2:01:39 in the German capital last year, skipped Sunday’s race to focus on his attempt to become the first to break the two-hour mark at a specially organized event in Austria in October. Bekele had knee and hamstring injuries in recent years and hadn’t completed a marathon since April last year, leading many to believe his best days were over. His world records over 5,000m and 10,000m are from 2004 and 2005, respectively. “I have shown that my career is far from over,” Bekele said.
Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia won a sprint against compatriot Mare Dibaba to clinch the women’s marathon in 2:20:14, a personal best. Dibaba finished seven seconds behind. Kenya’s Selly Chepyego Kaptich was third in 2:21:06, and Ethiopia’s Helen Tola finished fourth in 2:21:36. The four had shared the lead for a long time.
The 31-year-old Bekere, who previously won marathons in Rotterdam and Valencia, said she believes she can run under two hours and 20 minutes on the fast course.