FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wanjiru Out But Lel In!
28 March 2011
Sammy Wanjiru has been forced to pull out of next month's London Marathon
with a knee injury but race director David Bedford was delighted to hear at
the same time that the 3 times London Champion Martin Lel was fit and
wanted to be added to the London field. Lel has previously won London in
2005, 2007 and 2008.
After dropping out of last year's race, Wanjiru was hoping to make amends
on Sunday 17th April by regaining the title he won in 2009. But the Kenyan
hasn't raced since he won the Chicago marathon last October and has been
forced to accept he's lost the battle to gain fitness in time for the 2011
Wanjiru 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
"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."
While Wanjiru will undoubtedly be missed, Lel provides an able replacement.
The 32-year-old is one of only three men who have won the London Marathon
three times and after two years of injury problems the Kenyan now believes
he's in shape to challenge for a fourth London crown.
Bedford said: "Of course, we are very sad to lose the Olympic champion from
our line-up as Sammy was a great champion here two years ago. We wish him a
speedy recovery from his injury problems."But we are also delighted to
announce the late addition of Martin Lel, one of the great champions in
London Marathon history. Martin tells me his training has been going really
well and he feels in shape to be able to take on the London challenge
again. He is a very welcome addition to what is already a great field."
Among Lel's opponents will be the defending champion, Tsegaye Kebede from
Ethiopia, the world champion, Abel Kirui, the fastest marathon runner in
2010, Patrick Makau, and the third quickest man of all time, James Kwambai.