NAIROBI, January 27 – World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie says his record is under threat from Kenyans.
Speaking after arrival in Nairobi on Tuesday afternoon, Gebrselassie said that his long time rivals have every chance to lowering the two hours three minutes and 59 seconds mark which he set in Berlin last year.
“I could not have achieved all that I have achieved without the Kenyans. Even now I believe that one day Kenyans will break my record. Of course it will not be easy but it is possible to break it,” said Gebrselassie.
Gebrselassie has also tipped Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru and reigning London marathon champion Martin Lel to emerge tops in this year’s race in April.
“I think it will be between Lel and Wanjiru. They are very good names on the list and stand out but don’t also forget the Ethiopian guy,” he quipped.
He added that he has now set his sights on the London Olympics in 2012.
“Now I am thinking about more than just the world record. Now am thinking about the Olympics in 2012. The Olympics are always something special but I don’t what shape I will be in,” he added.
Haile also stressed the importance of the rivalry between Kenyans and Ethiopians, “without Ethiopians, Kenyans are not so good and without Kenyans, Ethiopians are not so good either so we need each other.”
Gebrselassie who is also G4S global ambassador will oversee the inaugural G4S 4Teen training camp that will involve four of Africa’s fast rising sports persons.
World Cross Country junior champion Pauline Korikwiang, Nigeria 100m sprinter Obinna Metu, 200m sprinter Fanuel Keniosi from Botswana and table tennis player Zodwa Mapanga from South Africa will take part in the camp..
The climax of the three day will be a fun run on January 29 dubbed ‘Come Run With Legends’ which will feature Gebrselassie, his long time arch rival and close friend Paul Tergat and 200 other participants.
G4S 4Teen was launched three years ago with the aim of nurturing and supporting a new generation of young stars fro around the world in their pursuit of the dream of competing in London 2012.
Since its formation, five of the athletes on the programme qualified for last year’s Beijing games.
The athletes attend annual global and regional training camps where the members gather together for intensive workshops and give the athletes a chance to catch up with each other and visit a new corner of the world.