Olympic 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba has been ruled out of the London Marathon in April through injury.
The distance runner was set to take part in her first marathon, but the 27-year-old Ethiopian who managed to defend her title at the London Games last summer has suffered a recurrence of a lower leg problem.
She was due to run her first competitive marathon and in preparation for the big race she won the Great North Run last September.
Dibaba commented: “The increase in mileage has caused a flare up of my previous injury but I look forward to making my marathon debut in London next year.”
The star was aiming to become the first Ethiopian woman to win the race since her cousin Derartu Tulu in 2001, but her withdrawal leaves Olympic champion Tiki Gelana to lead the Ethiopian charge in her first appearance at the event.
Gelana will face world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and Olympic silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo, so people that stay in luxury suites in London to see the April 21st showpiece can be assured of an exciting race still.
Race director High Brasher said it is disappointing that Dibaba won’t be able to make the race, but he is still confident of a great day.
He commented: “We still have a fantastic women’s race in prospect, however, with the Olympic and World Champions going head-to-head, and so many winners from major city marathons around the world.”
The London Marathon sees people heading to the city in their thousands to see the elite athletes competing or to cheer those that are taking part to raise money for charity.
Those people that do head to London will need to make sure they line the streets fairly early in order to get a good spot.