17 June 2021, 3pm
The highly-anticipated duel between him and defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge will not take place. The Kenyan is the hot favourite for the Gold medal.
Bekele missed the Ethiopian Olympic elimination race over 35km on 1 May but there was still a possibility that the Ethiopian Olympic Committee would nominate the 39-year-old for an Olympic place. A year after Kipchoge set his world record in the 2018 Berlin Marathon Bekele all but equalled it, running only two seconds slower. Sisay Lemma is likely to be the runner who fills the selection spot..
Bekele will now be able to prepare for an autumn marathon. All six races of the big-money “World Marathon Majors” series are currently planned to be run between 26 September and 7 November.