Haile makes U-turn

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NAIROBI, November 15- Ethiopian athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie has changed his mind about retiring and will continue to run at the top level for the next two to three years, his manager and agent said on Monday.

Gebrselassie, the marathon world record holder and two-time 10,000 metres Olympic gold medallist made the decision to retire after limping out of his first New York marathon with a knee injury last week.

But his Dutch manager Jos Hermens said the 37-year-old athlete has accepted to put his retirement plans on hold after being talked out of it by his friends and fellow Ethiopians.

"Gebrselassie likes to run and running is his life. He has changed his mind," Hermens told AFP on the telephone from Ethiopia.

"You cannot just stop because you lost a race. After New York, Gebrselassie took the week to make up his mind and it is his will to continue running," said the Dutchman, who has managed the athlete for 20 years.

"He is still in good shape and can still compete at the highest level for the next two to three years," he added.

But Hermens, who met Gebrselassie when he arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday, accepted the athlete will have to work hard to qualify to compete in his sixth Olympic games in London in 2012.

Since his return to Addis Ababa, Gebrselassie attended a race in Wollega, in Western Ethiopia on Saturday, which attracted over 25,000 runners and 5,000 spectators who kept on yelling at him to reconsider his retirement plans, said Hermens.

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