Iconic long distance runner Eliud Kipchoge has blamed a ‘blocked’ ear for his defeat at the London Marathon.
Kipchoge, outright pre race favourite, finished eight as Ethiopian Shura Kitata triumphed on Sunday clocking 2:5.41.
“I’m really disappointed, but this is sport, its what normally happens in sport,” Kipchoge is quoted in Athletics Weekly.
“I got a blocked ear in the last 15km. I tried to take in the saliva to open the ear. I tried to keep warm and make sure I finished and show people there is always hope in the world.
“It’s not the end of the world that I can’t win. This is sport and we need to embrace ourselves.
“Those who are focusing on the winners are always losers but those who are focusing on winning are always a winner. So I am focusing on winning.
“I trust that I am giving inspiration to the whole world. I don’t have anything in my heart that I feel anything bad has happened. I want to congratulate the top finishers for bringing hope on the streets of London in this time of Covid-19.”
The Kenyan had won the last four London Marathons and a late withdrawal by his rival Kenenisa Bekele pointed the race to Kipchoge greatly.
With about three miles to the finish line, Kipchoge started to struggle before falling back.
This, was Kipchoge’s first defeat since 2013 and only the second loss of his impressive marathon career so far.
He added: “I’m looking forward to going back to training and focusing on doing the right thing at the right time in the future.”