Shin injury forces postponement of triple Olympic champion’s marathon debut
Tirunesh Dibaba’s distance dreams have been halted for now as she has been forced to pull out of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon with a shin injury.
The three-time Olympic champion would have been looking to transfer her success in London from the track to the road when making her debut over 26.2 miles on April 21 but she has had to postpone her move up to the marathon distance due to a previous problem with her lower leg re-emerging during training.
“I have been in training for the London Marathon, but the increase in mileage has caused a flare up of my previous lower leg injury,” said the Ethiopian, who added victory in the 10,000m at the Olympics last summer to her gold-medal winning performances in the 5000m and 10,000m at Beijing 2008.
“As a result, I won’t be able to compete in this year’s London Marathon but I look forward to making my marathon debut there next year.”
Dibaba’s withdrawal leaves Olympic champion Tiki Gelana to spearhead the Ethiopian challenge at her first London Marathon. Gelana will face World Champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, plus World and Olympic silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo in a race featuring five women who have completed the distance in less than two hours 20 minutes.
“Of course, it is disappointing to lose Tirunesh,” commented London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher.
“She has been such a fantastic athlete on the track, and everyone was full of anticipation to see how well she performed in a marathon, so we would be naturally delighted to see her return to London in 2014 as part of the London Marathon elite field.
“We still have a fantastic women’s race in prospect, however, with the Olympic and World Champions going head-to-head, and so many winners from major city marathons around the world.”
Dibaba had been set to lead the Ethiopian charge in Bydgoszcz on March 24, where the 27-year-old would have been aiming for a fourth World Cross senior title. Her national federation is yet to announce a replacement.