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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Gebrselassie drops marathon hint

Haile Gebrselassie
Gebrselassie has set 26 world records during his career

Haile Gebrselassie says he could go back on his decision to withdraw from the marathon at this year's Olympics.

The 34-year-old, who suffers from asthma, had announced that he would not race in the showpiece event because of the high pollution levels in Beijing.

But he has now said he would consider running if the race was moved away from the city centre and a change to the start time was brought in.

"I do not want to rule anything out at this point," he said.

"This decision is not about me. It is about all athletes who will be competing. Our safety has to be protected.

"If the International Olympic Committee (IOC) makes the decision to switch venues, then I may compete depending on how my training is going.

"People must understand that this is a sporting decision and no different than what I make for every competition."

606: DEBATE
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The distance runner has reportedly come under pressure from his home supporters in Ethiopia to take part in the race.

And Gebrselassie, who set a new marathon world record in Berlin last year, was keen to stress that his announcement should not be misconstrued as a snub to China.

"I have nothing against China or their hosting of the Olympics. They are doing a great job," he said.

Gebrselassie is determined to take part in the Olympic 10,000m - an event he has won twice before, in Atlanta in 1996 and in Sydney in 2000.

"I have planned to compete in the 10,000m, but first I have to qualify for the Ethiopian team. That is not easy," he said.

"I would not have made the decision if I was not confident of my ability. In one way or another, I am going to compete in Beijing."




see also
Gebrselassie opts out of marathon
10 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Gebrselassie misses marathon mark
18 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Gebrselassie sets marathon record
30 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Radcliffe prepares pollution plan
17 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Gebrselassie targets London 2012
19 Apr 07 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
05 Mar 08 |  Team GB
London Marathon on the BBC
14 Jan 08 |  Athletics


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