11 Jan

Bekele Opts For Paris

Kenenisa Bekele

Kenenisa Bekele has confirmed he will make his marathon debut in Paris, ending hopes that the Ethiopian would face Mo Farah in London. Bekele, 31, finished ahead of Farah in last year's Bupa Great North Run and was tipped to face the double Olympic champion in April.

Dave Bedford, organiser of the Virgin London Marathon, had indicated earlier this week that a repeat encounter between the pair at the event was unlikely. Bekele's participation in Paris means he will make his marathon debut on 6 April, 7 days prior to Farah's.

The statement read: "Kenenisa Bekele, triple Olympic champion and five-times world champion over 5,000m and 10,000m, will line up at the start of the 38th edition of the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon.

"The 31-year-old Ethiopian athlete will make his debut in the marathon on 6 April with the aim of having a shot at the times of the world's best runners over the distance."

Even though the event represents Bekele's first step-up to marathon distance, he hasn't ruled out the possibility of breaking the course record in Paris, which was set by Stanley Biwott in 2012 with a time of 2:05:12. As it stands, the quickest marathon debut in history belongs to Dennis Kimetto, who ran 2:04:16 in Berlin two years ago.