Champ gutted for London miss

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NAIROBI, Kenya, March 29- Olympic marathon champion, Samuel Wanjiru, expressed his frustration at missing April’s London Marathon with knee injury.

In a statement from organisers, the 2009 London Marathon champion and record holder said, "I am bitterly disappointed not to be able to race in London this year. Winning the London Marathon in 2009 was one of the great achievements of my career and I was hoping to become the London champion again.

"But I have been suffering some problems with my right knee recently which meant I had to withdraw from the Lisbon half-marathon. Unfortunately, it has not responded well enough for me to make my final preparations for London. I wish good luck to the other runners and will do my best to be back next year."

David Bedford, the race Director was saddened that Wanjiru would not be in the line up for the London marathon. He was however delighted to announce the late introduction of another London Marathon champion, Martin Lel who won there in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Wanjiru is in South Africa receiving specialised treatment for his knee. It is not clear what his next target will be with the World Championships and spring marathon season that includes the Chicago race that he has won for the last two editions in November.

Missing London also means Wanjiru’s chances of becoming the first three-time winner of the $500,000 (Sh80m) World Marathon Majors (WMM) series he won last year at the expense of Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kebede who will feature in London have been rocked.

In Wanjiru’s absence Kenya’s London charge will be spearheaded by reigning Rotterdam and Berlin Marathon champion, Patrick Makau Musyoki, who like Wanjiru, dropped out of last year’s run. World titleholder, Abel Kirui, World Championships and New York Marathon runner-up, Emmanuel Mutai will also feature.

Kebede leads the current men’s WMM standings on 40 points ahead of Mutai on 30 and last year’s Boston winner, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (25).

Wanjiru sits joined third on 25 and having missed the 2009 Berlin World Championships to concentrate on his attempt to break the world record, he might be tempted to compete in his nation in Daegu since the IAAF event as well as the Olympics in the years they are held also count for WMM series points in addition to London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons.

The Olympics, Fukuoka, London and Chicago course record holder is also awaiting the outcome of criminal charges of possessing and illegal firearm he faces with the next mention set for May. Three other counts of threatening to kill his wife Triza Njeri and night guard were dropped after the pair dropped charges in February.

The charges relate to a December 29, 2010 incident where it was reported Wanjiru arrived home intoxicated and proceeded to wreck havoc in his Milimani residence in Nyahururu.
In the women’s London race, recently minted world half marathon record holder, Mary Keitany and New York Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat are Kenya’s biggest hopes.

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