NAIROBI, Kenya, April 26 – World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie said that he had a good feeling that Tsegay Kebede would hold his own at Sunday’s London Marathon.
Gebrselassie told Capital Sport that he had watched his fellow Ethiopian for the event which he won in a time of 2:14:30, a minute ahead of Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai.
“It was an interesting marathon. Kebede was in very good shape. Before he went to London I checked on him and he looked good. It was wonderful to see him do that after Abera (Gezahegne) all those years ago,” said Gebrselassie.
Men’s favourites Samuel Wanjiru and Zernesay Tadese failed to rise to the occasion with Wanjiru withdrawing after 27 km while Tadese struggled to impose himself.
“The race itself was complicated. Wanjiru and Tadese who were expected to do well did not perform. And of course the wet weather made it difficult,” said the two time gold medalist.
Gebrselassie believes that the Olympic champion still has a chance of breaking his record in Berlin later this year.
“Wanjiru is a wonderful because he’s constant. His running style is not so bad to do marathons. Tekeste Kebede is also a good runner,” said Gebrselassie.
Gebrselassie who is currently in Kenya under the auspices of security company G4S thinks Ehiopians’ preference for marathons is the main reason why they have suffered in track events of late.
“When you look at the last world cross championships, the Ethiopians did not do a very good job because their better rewards in marathons,” said the legendary athlete.
“When you run a marathon, the organizers pay you well and also most of the shoe companies sponsor them,” he added.
He does not believe that there is mow daylight between Kenya and his country following the former’s impressive performances at last year’s World Athletics Championships and the World Cross Country in Bydgoscz.
“Both countries are still at the same level. Kenyans are many compared to Ethiopia but we are coming. In future I hope its going to be 50-50,” said Gebrselassie.
Meanwhile, G4S on Monday announced a unique sponsorship agreement with the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) worth millions of shillings.
The agreement worth Sh12.4 million over a five-year period will see up to seven talented but disadvantaged youths, receive annual scholarships under MYSA ranging from primary school to university level.
“Bright students will benefit as long as they are members of MYSA,” said G4S Regional Managing Director for East Africa (RMDEA), Adam Miller said at the Nyayo National Stadium, adding that this was a new dawn for the Risk Management solutions and secure logistics company.