Legend Gebrselassie in retirement U-turn

November 16th, 2010 | by addis portal |

CNN) — Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie performed a U-turn on his decision to retire from athletics by stating his intention to continue competing on Monday.Gebrselassie — who announced his decision to quit on 7 November after pulling out of the New York City Marathon with a knee injury — said his post-race reaction had not been thought through.

“Running is in my blood and I [have] decided to continue competing. My announcement in New York was my first reaction after a disappointing race,” the 37-year-old stated via his official Twitter account.

“When my knee is better again I will start focusing on my next race. Thank you again for all your support,” he added.

The confirmation comes after the four-time gold-medal-winning world champion hinted at a change of heart last week when he posted that he needed “some time to think things over” on the same website.

It also followed calls from former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster for Gebrselassie to stay in athletics, after the Englishman hailed the African as the “greatest athlete of all time.”

Gebrselassie has so far set 27 world best times during a glittering career that has seen him twice crowned Olympic 10,000 meter champion — with gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta and Sydney Games respectively.

He is also the world marathon record holder, after posting a mark of two hours three minutes 59 seconds in Berlin in 2008.

Gebrselassie is due to race next in Tokyo, Japan in February, but his manager — Jos Hermens — hinted that the Ethiopian may now aim to compete in 2012 London Olympics.

“He has always talked about London 2012. The moment when he stops international running will come sooner or later but, as many people said, this was not the right moment. London is always in his mind, so he should be there, for sure. This is his last big goal,” British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Hermans as saying.

Nicknamed “The Emperor”, the legendary runner has built a successful career off the track, he owns a running club and has established a school in his homeland.

According to the New York TImes Gebrselassie employs more than 600 people in various businesses and has built two schools in his homeland, he has also spoken about the possibility of running for political office once his athletics career is over.

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