World Record-Holding Marathoner Will NOT Compete In Beijing Olympics, Citing Appalling Air Quality

chinaposter.jpgTHE INDEPENDENT: Haile Gebrselassie says he will not run in the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics over fears about the high pollution levels in the city. The Ethiopian marathon world record holder, who suffers from asthma and missed the 2007 London Marathon because of the problem, will now run at the shorter distance of 10,000m in Beijing. “The pollution in China is a threat to my health and it would be difficult for me to run 42km in my current condition,” Gebrselassie said. “But I am not pulling out of the Olympic event in Beijing all together. I plan to participate in the 10,000m event.” News of the development is struggling to reach audiences in China, where transmissions of BBC World were mysteriously suspended when the station relayed the story. Last year Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, who suffers from exercise-induced asthma, called inhaile_185x360_300867a.jpg pollution experts to help her plans to run in the Games marathon. MORE

WIKIPEDIA: Haile Gebrselassie (born April 18, 1973) is an Ethiopian long distance track and road running athlete. Known for his remarkable versatility, Gebrselassie achieved major competition wins at distances between 1500 metres and marathon, moving from outdoor, indoor and cross country running to road running in the latter part of his career. He has broken 25 world records and won numerous Olympic and World Championship titles, and is widely considered one of the greatest distance runners in history.[1][2][3][4][5] He currently holds the world Marathon record.[6] Gebrselassie was born as one of ten children in Asella, Arsi Province, Ethiopia. As a child growing up on a farm he used to run ten kilometres to school every morning, and the same back every evening. This led to a distinctive running posture, with his left arm crooked as if still holding his schoolbooks.[7] MORE

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