Two potential title challengers have been forced to withdraw from the Virgin Money London Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 26 April due to injuries.
Three weeks after Kenenisa Bekele announced he would not be fit enough to compete, the Ethiopian challenge in the men’s race is further weakened by the absence of Ayele Abshero due to a shin injury.
Abshero has finished fourth and third respectively in London in the last two years, and is the second fastest Ethiopian marathon-runner in history after Haile Gebrselassie courtesy of a 2:04:23 winning debut in the Dubai Marathon in 2012.
His absence leaves teenager Tsegaye Mekonnen as the leading Ethiopian competitor in the elite men’s field alongside 2:05:27 performer Tilahun Regassa.
Ethiopian debutant Guye Adola, who won a bronze medal in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships last year and has a half marathon lifetime best of 59:06, has also pulled out.
The Ethiopian presence in the women’s race is also weakened by the withdrawal of last year’s fourth placer Feyse Tadese due to an ankle injury which she sustained in training last week.
Tadese finished second in the Berlin Marathon later in the year in a PB of 2:20:27 behind her compatriot Tirfe Tsegaye, who starts as one of the favourites in the elite women’s race on 26 April.