Athletics: Bekele to make July return, eyes another world title

Thursday 16 Jun 2011

Ethiopian world record holder Kenenisa Bekele plans to return from a year-long calf injury in time to defend his 10,000 metres world championship in July, his manager said on Tuesday.

Kenenisa Bekele

The multiple Olympic and world gold medallist has not raced since January 2010 because of a ruptured muscle in his right calf but expects to run two or three tune-up races next month before seeking his fifth consecutive 10,000m world title at the August world championships in Daegu, South Korea.

"He will run the 10,000 at Daegu, that is for sure unless something happens," Jos Hermens, told Reuters in a telephone from the Netherlands.

The decision puts on the line a remarkable streak for Bekele, who has never lost a 10,000 metres race on the track and is considered one of the all-time great distance runners.

His 12 victories at the distance since 2003 include two Olympic and four world titles. He also holds the world record at both 5,000 and 10,000 metres.

If he wins at Daegu, the 29-year-old would also become the first runner at any distance to win five consecutive outdoor world championships.

Five months of successful training have given Bekele the confidence he can add to his string of 20 individual global track and cross country gold medals, Hermens said.

"He has been really doing a long build-up, (originally) to make a base for 2012 (London Olympics)," Hermens said. "But it looks like now he is OK for Daegu."

Races at either 3,000 or 5,000 metres in July will help Bekele's camp decide for sure.

A final determination could come as late as a week before the worlds since Bekele, as the defending champion, has a wild card into the championships.

"We are not in a rush," Hermens said. "Most importantly is that he stay healthy with no more injures."

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