Wanjiru sets sight on London


NAIROBI, February 24- Kenya's Samuel Wanjiru, relieved that the protracted legal court battle with his wife were behind him, said on Thursday he planned to return to serious training in preparation for the London marathon in April.

The 24-year-old Olympic champion, who was facing attempted murder charges, said he was happy to resume his marathon training following the termination of the case by the court, on the advice of his wife on Wednesday.

"I have been having a hard time since January, but now I can breath a sigh of relief after she withdrew the case. We are now together, and she is really supporting me in my training," Wanjiru told reporters.

The Kenyan won the London marathon in a time of 2:05:10 in 2009, but was forced to drop out the race due to a knee injury last April.

He returned to win the Chicago marathon in October, beating the London marathon champion, Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia in a close finish.

Meanwhile, world record holder Haile Gebrselassie has pulled out of this weekend’s Tokyo marathon because of knee injuries, organisers said Thursday.

The 37-year-old Ethiopian, who recorded a fastest ever time of 2:03:59 when he won the 2008 Berlin marathon, hurt both knees in a fall during practice.

Gebrselassie announced his retirement from the sport in November last year, only to reverse the decision days later.

He has said a knee injury and his failure to finish the New York marathon earlier in the month were the reasons for his unexpected — and short-lived — retirement.

Sunday’s Tokyo marathon would have been his first race since the New York outing.

Big names from the world of marathon running set to compete this weekend include Felix Limo of Kenya, who set his personal best of 2:06:14 winning the 2004 Rotterdam marathon, and Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia, whose personal best of 2:06:30 was only enough to bag a fourth place in the 2009 Paris marathon.

Kenya’s Paul Biwott and Salim Kipsang are also expected to pose a threat with their best times of 2:07:02 and 2:07:29, respectively, while Ethiopia’s Hailu Mekonnen has a best time of 2:07:37.

Other major athletes will be Tadesse Abraham of Eritrea and last year’s Hokkaido marathon winner Cyrus Gichobi Njui of Kenya, while representing Japanese hopes will be Masakazu Fujiwara, Arata Fujiwara and Satoshi Irifune.