Kenenisa Bekele’s knee injury has almost fully healed
Multiple world record-holder Kenenisa Bekele is finally over the worst of the injury that prevented him from competing throughout 2010 and kept him out of next weekend’s World Cross-Country Championships.
Bekele, the three-time Olympic gold medallist from Ethiopia, last competed 14 months ago at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross, where he finished an uncharacteristic fourth.
His fortunes took a turn for the worse soon after when a ruptured calf muscle ruined a planned attack on the world indoor 5000m record last February. The injury extended into March, ruling him out of that year’s World Cross-Country Championships in Poland.
Later in 2010, Bekele – the winner of 11 individual World Cross titles – picked up a knee injury, extending his absence from competition. His disappointing performance in Edinburgh remained his sole competitive appearance in 2010.
But more than a year on from that rare defeat, Bekele is finally looking ahead with optimism. The 2011 summer season may come too soon for the five-time world champion, but he hopes to be fit for the London 2012 Olympics.
“It has been almost a year since my leg injury, but I have now started training,” he said on Twitter. “I’m hoping to be ready for the London Olympics.”
Bekele’s last championship appearance was at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, where he won an unprecedented 5000m and 10,000m double, repeating his feat from the previous year’s Beijing Olympics.
In the past he has spoken of another double at the Olympics in 2012 – in the 10,000m and the marathon. The recently-released athletics schedule for London shows there is an eight-day gap between the two events, with the 10,000m on August 4 and the marathon on August 12.
His long-term injury may have delayed his move to the roads – to date, Bekele has only competed in three road races, winning just one of them. But even if his Olympic marathon ambition gets delayed until after London, Bekele will still only be 34 years old in 2016 – one year younger than Haile Gebrselassie was when he set the current world record of 2:03:59.