Marathon champ call Olympics 'suicidal'

I have no intention of committing suicide in Beijing, says Haile Gebreselassie, the marathon world record holder.

updated: March 18, 2008 10:46 IST
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World record holder Haile Gebreselassie has confirmed in an interview with a Spanish newspaper that he will not run in the Beijing Olympics marathon due to the climatic conditions in the Chinese capital.

"I have no intention of committing suicide in Beijing," the Ethiopian, who suffers from asthma, told El Pais. "I know that several other athletes are starting to have doubts about this."

"It's purely a personal decision that I have taken to protect my health. I do not want to endanger my future. I do not want to kill myself in Beijing.

"The marathon will be impossible because of the pollution, heat and humidity," he added before confirming that he intended instead to focus instead on the 10,000 metres.

"I want to be an Olympic champion once again and also to compete in Beijing. That's why I have been trying to find a solution and that would be to once again compete in the 10,000 metres as I did at Atlanta, Sydney and Athens."

To do so, however, he will first have to secure his qualification as one of the three Ethiopian runners eligible to run in Beijing.