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Kipchoge fails to defend London Marathon title

Published : 04 Oct 2020, 23:27

  DF News Desk

Shura Kitata (C) of Ethiopia crosses the line to win the Elite Men's Race at the London Marathon 2020 in central London, Britain, on Oct. 4, 2020. Photo by Joe Toth/London Marathon Events/Handout via Xinhua.

Eliud Kipchoge, the world record holder of the men's marathon, failed to defend his London Marathon title on the rain-soaked looped course in St James's Park on Sunday, as Ethiopian Shura Kitata won the race in two hours five minutes and 41 seconds, reported Xinhua.

Four-time winner Kipchoge from Kenya was expected to clinch the victory comfortably as his archrival Kenenisa Bekele announced his withdrawal from the event due to a calf injury on Friday.

The 38-year-old Bekele won the Berlin Marathon last year in 2:01:41, only two seconds short of Kipchoge's world record, which he set on the same course in 2018.

However, the 35-year-old Kipchoge was dropped from the leading pack with about three kilometers to go, finishing eighth at last.

Kitata, 24, managed to dash to the finishing line first, one second before Kenya's Vincent Kipchumba.

Kitata's compatriot Sisay Lemma was three seconds further back to finish third.

"All the time I kept myself in the back to attack when I needed to," said Kitata. "When I went, I tried to push the pace more than before. I went into the last lap to beat the others."

Earlier in the women's race, the world record holder Brigid Kosgei defended her title in 2:18:58.

The 26-year-old Kenyan was far behind her world record of 2:14:04 that she set in Chicago last year, but met no challenge after 30 kilometers.

American Sara Hall, who sprinted to surpass world champion Ruth Chepngetich in the last meters, finished second in 2:22:01. Chepngetich from Kenya completed the race four seconds later.

The 40th edition of the London Marathon was rescheduled from its traditional April date due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was only eligible for elite runners over 19 laps around St James's Park.