The former world-record holder in the marathon likes having his old rival back.
Haile Gebrselassie used to be Paul Tergat’s number one rival. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Gebrselassie was the reigning world record holder in the 10,000m and the twice-defending world champion. His main rival was cross-country champion Tergat.
Tergat, 42, is now retired and has finally weighed in on the Ethiopian’s decision to return to the sport.
“Legends of any sport do not retire; instead, they fade off the stage graciously and continue working in the disciplines they know best,” said Tergat. “Where can Haile go? We all love him, and it is best he stays in athletics for longer.”
Tergat said he, too, was surprised by the sudden announcement by his great friend to throw in the towel moments after he had bet on him to win the ING New York City Marathon. In that race, Gebrselassie dropped out along the Queensboro Bridge around the 16-mile mark due to a knee injury.
But Tergat is upbeat about Haile’s future in the sport.
“The presence of Haile in athletics is big and it is still required, to inspire and guide the younger people,” he said.
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