Bekele to defend world title despite year out

RALEIGH, North Carolina, (Reuters) – Ethiopian  Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele will defend his  10,000 metres world title later this month despite not having  raced since early 2010, his manager said yesterday.

Kenenisa Bekele

“He is going to Daegu and (will) run. He is training well,”  Jos Hermens told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Bekele, 29, has never lost a 10,000 race on the track but  his lack of competitive action means he will be under added  pressure at the Aug. 27-Sept. 4 worlds in Daegu, South Korea .
His 12 victories at the distance since 2003 include two  Olympic and four world titles along with two world records.

If Bekele wins in Daegu, he would become the first runner at  any distance to win five consecutive outdoor world titles.

Only pole vaulter Sergei Bubka has more, claiming six in a  row competing for the Soviet Union and Ukraine in the 1980s and  ‘90s.

Bekele ruptured a muscle in his right calf in February 2010  and has not raced since because of a variety of problems. His  last race was in January of last year.

“He is quite fit but it is difficult to say what will  happen, even for me, because he has not raced,” said Hermens, a  former world class runner.

Bekele was assured of wild-card spots as the world champion  at 5,000 and 10,000 but whether he competes in both will be  determined by how well he runs over te longer distance.
“Once it goes well, you never know, he might do everything.  He has surprised me so many times,” Hermens said.

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