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Monday, 27th February 2012
In Events In Japan, Japan Sports News,

Kipyego beats legend Gebrselassie to win Tokyo Marathon

Kenyan runner Michael Kipyego emerged victorious in yesterday's (February 26th) Tokyo Marathon, finishing the course in two hours, seven minutes and 37 seconds.

The 28-year-old beat Haile Gebrselassie, 38, with the former world record holder forced to accept fourth place with a time of 2:08.17 in his first marathon for two years, the Japan Times reported.

Kipyego's time falls just 14 seconds short of the Tokyo Marathon record, which was set in 2008 by Viktor Rothlin, who finished in fifth place, 15 seconds behind Gebrselassie.

After the race, Kipyego said: "I am so happy that I won," the news provider quoted.

"At 25 km, I realised the pace was too fast for me and I just decided to drop out and go at my own pace.

"At 30 km, I realised I was closing the gap and with 6 km left, I gained confidence."

Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, Japanese hopeful Arata Fujiwara managed a second-placed finish, overtaking Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich in the final 20m to cross the line after 2:07.48.

Amateur runner Yuki Kawauchi had a sensational run but dropped to 14th place after overcoming succumbing to dehydration.

Following his victory, Kipyego was humble in assessing his talents compared to Gebrselassie, who was running in his first ever Tokyo Marathon.

Despite winning, the Kenyan said nobody compares to Gebrselassie, who has two Olympic gold medals and four world titles to his name.

"He is the champion of the marathon. I salute him so much," Kipyego said.

Gebrselassie, who has been targeting a time in the two hours five minutes region, attributed his below-par performance to a bad back, which he said had been causing him problems all day.

The marathon begins outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, one of the major landmarks of the Japanese capital, before finishing outside the Tokyo Big Sight conference centre.

Written by Susan Ballion