Gebrselassie regrets opting out of marathon – By Vivi Lin(BEIJING, Reuters)

August 18th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Marathon world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie regrets pulling out of the 42-km race at the Olympics over fears that Beijing’s air pollution would damage his health.

“I’m surprised. What do you expect from me? I was here in February, I didn’t see no blue sky,” the Ethiopian runner told Reuters on Monday in China’s capital, where the sun was shining in a slightly hazy sky.

“Since I came here everything is perfect. They should tell us,” he added with a laugh.

Asked if he was now sorry not to be running in next Sunday’s marathon, he chuckled again and said: “Don’t push me. Yes.” (more…)

Marathon world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie regrets pulling out of the 42-km race at the Olympics over fears that Beijing’s air pollution would damage his health.

“I’m surprised. What do you expect from me? I was here in February, I didn’t see no blue sky,” the Ethiopian runner told Reuters on Monday in China’s capital, where the sun was shining in a slightly hazy sky.

“Since I came here everything is perfect. They should tell us,” he added with a laugh.

Asked if he was now sorry not to be running in next Sunday’s marathon, he chuckled again and said: “Don’t push me. Yes.”

Gebrselassie, a 35-year-old who suffers from asthma, announced in March that he would not participate in the marathon and called on China to deal with Beijing’s pollution problem, saying it would be a hazard to athletes.

International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said last year that endurance events such as the marathon or long-distance cycling races could be rescheduled if efforts to clear Beijing’s polluted skies were unsuccessful.

As it turned out, the opening days of the Games were marred by smoggy skies but the weather has cleared for the second week.

“It’s really good for everybody, good for all … to keep such clean air, that’s fantastic,” Gebrselassie said.

Gebrselassie ran in the men’s 10,000m in Beijing on Sunday, an event in which he has twice won an Olympic gold medal. He finished in sixth place, behind fellow Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Sileshi Sihine, who took gold and silver respectively.

“Getting sixth in 10,000, it was not bad,” he said.

“The only problem I had yesterday … was just the last 250 meters, the last 300 meters. I have no more sprint. My training is mostly for a marathon.”

He said he may return to the 10,000 meters and is also keen to run in the marathon at London’s 2012 Olympics.

  1. Nigussie
    | #1

    I was personally happy if we can have gold of Marathon and Haile was my hope. Now he did something great we can never forget for the gold of 10000. Haile is our real Hero who won the Gold of our hearts. Thanks Haile you are always Amazing.

  2. AleQa Bru
    | #2

    Haile,

    Give it up. You have done enough already. Now it is not your time. You have enough money, do something else than running. Be creative with your money.

    That’s all I have to say…

  3. Ye Mekelle Lij
    | #3

    Haile gave it all he had and contributed to the success of Bekelle and Shine by playing team work. We should be proud of out athletes.

    God bless Ethiopia and its people.

    Ye Mekelle-Lij

  4. abe
    | #4

    Haile running wise you are great and will remain great. the problem was you involved your self in polotics. leave that for idiots and keep on running.

  5. | #5

    haile. you are darling the whole ethiopian i say thankyou. you know what every one kennsa resalt not only by him that team work thanks to the other two guys we should say.

  6. | #6

    The great Haile,you have made a right decision to skip the Bejing marathon because we should not relay only on you and few of your teammates.You have done enough to that country and now follow your own decisions,no one will accuse you for not bringing Gold for that country.We must give young athelets a chance to grow up.Do what pleases you.It is that stupid federation which is unable to produce new and young athelets.You have done your best.Wealways proud of you.May God bless you ,your wife and children.

  7. AYE
    | #7

    AYE fetari sewu berihab yalkal lelaw olypic yilal. ere gobex agerachinin enaseb. ene politics alwedem gin lets give prioritize ethiopian problem. Bagegnut medaleya medeset bicha sayhon yetegodawunim wegen enaseb. esu mihretun yamtalin bicha migib alhonenim.
    thanks

  8. AYE
    | #8

    AYE fetari sewu berihab yalkal lelaw olypic yilal. ere gobez agerachinin enaseb. ene politics alwedem gin lets give prioritize ethiopian problem. Bagegnut medaleya medeset bicha sayhon yetegodawunim wegen enaseb. esu mihretun yamtalin bicha migib alhonenim.
    thanks

  9. Great
    | #9

    Haile has done increadible for our country, He also did great team work in the 10000. I would have been very happy if he was in the medal list. But i can understand, the younger athletes were faster around the finishing line. BUT what ever the case, Hale is our Hero for ever. We love you Hiale, you are our pride. It is in your name and your compartiot athletes name that the world is trying to explain the good aspects of our country.

    God bless the rest of your career and your overall life.

    With lots of respect and love, your fan.

  10. Guenet
    | #10

    Haile,

    You shouldn’t regret. Your health is more important than anything, anyway you already did a lot for your country.
    We love you!

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