For years, athletics fans have been debating who is the best long-distance athlete, and the experienced Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele claims that he is better than the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. Last week, Kipchoge set a world record in the marathon with a time of 2:01:09, which caused many reactions and comments that it is the best in history.
This happened at last week's marathon in Berlin. Nevertheless, Bekele said in his latest statement that he is the best long-distance athlete of all time and that even today he could beat Kipchoge, even though he has entered the 41st year of his life.
“With the marathon I couldn’t achieve what everybody hoped,” he added. “Somehow I failed with some marathon races. But, on the other hand, my marathon times also tell you something. I am second overall behind Eliud Kipchoge.
And it was very close. It was only two seconds until last week. “So this tells everyone: it doesn’t matter if I win a marathon 10 times or 20 times, how many athletes can run this time? Of course I’m not perfect.
I’ve not really achieved all the spectators or my fans wanted from me. But, on the other hand, those results were not easy to achieve”. Asked whether it would be his last race, he denied it “My mind tells me not yet.
I follow the feeling in my mind. Someday maybe my mind will tell me this is enough, stop here, but now is not my time”. Bekele offered his sympathies to Mo Farah, who was forced to pull out of the London Marathon this week due to a hip injury.
“I faced many years of injuries and I know how it feels, especially at his age,” he said. “It’s not easy to come out from that, but if he is mentally and physically strong, especially mentally, I am sure he will do better in the future, for a couple of years”.
In the end, Bekele announced that he can beat Kipchoge and that he can celebrate at the London Marathon. Taking down the world championship is not his goal and he points out that it will be very difficult.