Gebreselassie eyes Olympic marathon gold in 2012

Haile Gebreselassie
Haile Gebreselassie set a world record of 2:03:59 at last year's Berlin marathon

BERLIN (AFP) Friday, Sept. 18, 2009— Ethiopian world record holder Haile Gebreselassie said on Friday that he is aiming for Olympic gold in the marathon at the 2012 London Games.

“I have two plans,” said the 36-year-old. “Breaking the world record is one thing and to win the Olympic title (in 2012). This is a very important thing for me. I have no other distance, only marathon.”

The Ethiopian missed out on both the marathon at the Beijing Olympics last summer, because of his fears over pollution in the Chinese capital, and the race in last month’s World Athletics Championships in Berlin, in order to rest up for Saturday’s Berlin marathon.

The two-time Olympic champion at 10,000m — in 1996 and 2000 — is eyeing a fourth consecutive victory in the race around the streets of the German capital and insisted he was not overly concerned by his rivals, namely Duncan Kibet of Kenya.

“I am fit, I cannot say anything on what will happen during the race or if a new world record will be set,” he said of the marathon that ends under the Brandenburg Gate.

“I don’t think just about Kibet. Others competitors are one thing in marathon, but the most important thing is the distance.”

Kibet has set a season’s best of 2hr 04min 27sec, just off Gebreselassie’s own world record of 2:03:59 set at last year’s Berlin marathon.