Last call for the Emperor

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NEW YORK, November 7 – Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie announced his retirement on Sunday, after dropping out of the New York City Marathon with a knee injury.The 37-year-old – a two-time Olympic champion at 10,000 metres – said that he would devote himself to other matters.

"I never think about to retire. But for the first time, this is the day," he said. "Let me stop and do other work after this."

Gebrselassie, nursing an inflamed right knee, pulled out of the race at the 16-mile mark.

The marathon world record-holder, who is involved in several business ventures in his homeland, had treatment on his knee before the race and pulled up with a wince of pain on the downhill of the Queensboro Bridge.

He had run 16 miles in 1hr 19min 40sec.

"I don’t want to complain anymore after this, which means it’s better to stop here," said Gebrselassie, the 1996 and 2000 Olympic 10,000m champion.

Gebrselassie has won the Berlin Marathon four times and triumphed at Dubai the past three years.

He set the world marathon record of 2hr 3min 59sec in 2008 at Berlin.

While he had voiced pleasure at a chance to compete in New York for the first time, he acknowledged via Twitter before the start of the race and in a pre-race television interview that he had some inflammation in his knee.

"I have some inflammation in my right knee, because of the long travel to NY city," he wrote on the micro-blogging site. "No big problem, just some fluids. Hopefully the knee holds!"

Marathon officials said Gebrselassie had an MRI on Saturday that found fluid and tendinitis in the knee.

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