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More to come, says Bekele after WR miss

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Seconds out: Bekele narrowly misses world record

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – Described as one of the greatest comebacks in athletics history, Kenenisa Bekele’s astonishing victory in September’s Berlin Marathon in 2:01:41 – within two seconds of the world record – sent shockwaves through the athletics world.

After years of injury struggles, which can be traced back to a calf rupture in 2010, the Ethiopian has toiled during a stop-start marathon career.

After making a promising winning marathon debut in Paris in 2014 (2:05:04) and giving a glimpse of his outrageous potential with a 2:03:03 clocking to win the Berlin Marathon in 2016 – at the time the second fastest performance in history – his career up until September’s Berlin Marathon was in serious danger of being terminally derailed.

Since a second place finish in London in 2017 Bekele has finished only one marathon – when placing sixth in 2:08:53 in London the following year.

-Hermens support unwaning

Many dismissed the three-time Olympic champion and world 5000m and 10,000m record holder as yesterday’s man. A great athlete, but one simply unable to produce his best after suffering a catalogue of injuries to ankle, calf, Achilles tendon, back, hips, hamstring and foot.

Yet one person never gave up hope or belief – long-time manager Jos Hermens.

Kenenisa Bekele prepares for the 2018 London Marathon (Dan Vernon / NN Running Team)Kenenisa Bekele prepares for the 2018 London Marathon (Dan Vernon / NN Running Team) © Copyright

And earlier this year Hermens and his team at Global Sports Communication sought a solution to enable Bekele to once again flourish.

“His life in Ethiopia is very busy and maybe this wasn’t always the best way of ensuring the adequate rest and recovery between sessions,” explains Hermens.

“He is a businessman and, understandably, felt responsible for those businesses. His children mean the world to him and he wants to be the best father and family man he can be. But this sometimes meant he was juggling too many balls with not enough rest in his life.

-Temporary relocation pre-Berlin

“We said to Kenenisa: ‘If you keep doing what you are doing you will have the same results. We have to try and change things. Why don’t you spent two months based out of Nijmegen (where the Global Sports Communication offices are based) where you will receive the best medical treatment and can be closely monitored?’”

It was not an easy decision, but Bekele opted to leave his family behind and spend two months in the Dutch city.

“Things are not easy for me,” explains Kenenisa.

“I’m not a 20-year-old anymore,” he adds. “My body and training require a different approach. But I still wanted to run a top-quality marathon before I retired. I’m very serious. I’m following my team’s advice and doing my very best.”

The persistent injury issues were the primary concern and such were the nature of his ongoing issues they had created a serious body imbalance.

From the moment Kenenisa arrived in Nimegen, the renowned Dutch physio, Peter Eemers, started working on his ankle and hips to rectify the problem. Bekele was given specific gym exercises and his physical well-being was scrupulously monitored.

-A return to better quality training

In conjunction with the body strengthening programme, he was also put on a specific nutritional programme with the help of leading Dutch sports nutritional professional Armand Bettonviel.

Bekele had arrived in Nijmegen overweight but with each meal diligently prepared he slowly shed the pounds.

“Back home in Ethiopia, Kenenisa couldn’t get his weight quite right,” explains Hermens. “He was eating restaurant food from his hotel in Addis, but this isn’t the best food for an athlete.

“Armand gave him a diet of simple, plain food, which included proteins, rice and potatoes, vegetables and high-fibre food with support from our partner, Daily Fresh Food.

“Kenenisa gave daily feedback, what he liked and what he didn’t. If he ate too little, we would assess whether this would then have an effect on his training and make the necessary adjustments.”

Kenenisa Bekele prepares for the 2018 London Marathon (Dan Vernon / NN Running Team)Kenenisa Bekele prepares for the 2018 London Marathon (Dan Vernon / NN Running Team) © Copyright

With his weight under control and the injuries at bay, the emphasis was placed on a strict training programme.

Increasing his weekly mileage from a modest 45km a week to 150km during his two months in Nijmegen, he ended his stint there in good shape and set him on the right road to Berlin.

“Kenenisa’s time here went far better than we had hoped, and this not only reflects his incredible physical talent but also his mental toughness,” explains Hermens.

“It was not easy for Kenenisa to make that move from Addis to Nijmegen but it was a joy to watch him develop and return to his old physique and unparalleled running style.”

Back in Addis Ababa he continued to apply the principles he picked up in Nijmegen. He successfully maintained the correct balance of treatment and nutrition and having previously trained on his own under the coaching regime of Mersha Asrat he made the significant move to train with a world-class training group which included world marathon champion Lelisa Desisa.

Still operating under Asrat’s guidance, Bekele benefited from training each day with top-quality athletes.

“Unlike in Nijmegen, Kenenisa was training one again at altitude in Ethiopia,” Hermens said. “The weather conditions were a bit problematic in Addis because of the rainy season, so we had to be flexible sometimes with training times.”

-Renewed confidence

Leading into the Berlin, Kenenisa was in great shape and ready to run fast.

“We knew he was good because of what he showed in training. He was running ‘Kenenisa-style’ once more with a strong gait. You can see and feel it when an athlete is confident and in the right mindset.

“I knew he would want to win the race no matter what, and he was determined to show everybody that he is still the best athlete. When Kenenisa is confident and has his mind set on a goal, he is unbelievably strong.”

After delivering spectacularly in Berlin with the second fastest time in history and within just two seconds of Eliud Kipchoge’s world record, the question is: what next?

“If you look at the mileage and the quality of training he ran 2:01:41 with minimal preparation,” explains Hermens of Berlin. “Which makes you think what could happen in future if he keeps on track with his training.”

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Sewage Menace in Pipeline, Residents Cry For Help

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By Milo George

Residents of Pipeline Transami area are decrying poor drainage system that has caused sewage water to overflow in their area of residence.

The residents claim that the overflowing sewage is not only putting their lives at risk but also causing air pollution.

They have called on Nairobi Metropolitan Services and Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company to come on board and expand the sewer lines before more areas are flooded with raw human wastes coming from the blocked pipes.
“We want Major Badi and our leaders to resolve this menace immediately. It’s terrible many have been forced to shift their businesses because of the foul smell,” they said.
Pastor Joe Ndivoh of Word Evangelistic Explosion Ministries says that they have been forced to call off the Sunday School Service to protect the children from the smelly sewage.
‘‘We now fear that if prompt action is not taken then we will have a bigger health problem than this because we fear there could be an outbreak of water-borne disease anytime,’’ Pastor Ndivoh added.


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Solberg Jnr replaces Pierre-Louis for WRC Safari – KBC

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Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team has made a change to it’s WRC2 team for Safari replacing Pierre-Louis Loubet with 19 year old Oliver Solberg.

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The change of crew hands young Solberg an opportunity to resume his family dream on the fabled Safari which was first held from 27 May to 1 June 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Solberg Senior finished the WRC Safari 5th on the 1999 and 2000 editions driving a Ford Focus and navigated by his eventual Championship- winning navigator Phil Mills. In 200 and 2002, Petter retired on Safari after he lost a wheel and suffering engine gremlins on both occasions.

Oliver was forced to withdraw from last week’s Rally Italia Sardegna after his father, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Oliver was gearing up for his second top flight World Rally Championship outing with Hyundai at last weekend’s s Italian event.

However having been in contact with his father, Oliver was compelled to remain in quarantine in a hotel in Porto for 14 days as per the FIA Appendix S regulations.

The FIA’s Appendix S COVID-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.

“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” The 19-year-old Solberg told www.motorsport.com last week.

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WRC Safari Rally Event Secretary Helen Shiri confirmed Oliver’s Safari participation saying: “Hyundai WRC 2 team car number 7 has changed the crew from Driver Pierre-Lous and co-driver Florian Haut-labourdette both from France to Oliver Solberg (Swedish) and  Co-driver Aaron Johnston (Ireland). The car, a Hyundai i20 Coupé, remains intact.”

Meanwhile, it’s been a meteoric rise for the son of world champion Petter.

Less than two years after his maiden rally in a four-wheel drive car, the teenage sensation was competing at the WRC’s top level.

Aged just 17, Oliver became the youngest winner of a European Championship rally in 2019.

With a father and a mother from a well-known Swedish motorsport family and a former Production WRC competitor in her own right, there was a sense of inevitability that a career at the wheel was inevitable for Oliver Solberg. 

Solberg’s early years were spent racing in crosskarts.

In 2012 he won the Norwegian Championship before a step up to a higher class brought consecutive title wins in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In 2019 Solberg stepped into R5 machinery, driving a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in the Latvian/Estonian/Baltic Rally Championship. He took to the increased power immediately and racked up five class wins on his way to the championship title.

He also followed in his father’s footsteps to join Subaru Motorsports USA. He drove a latest-spec Impreza STI, winning three of the six rounds

After making his WRC debut at the 2019 Rally GB, Solberg stepped into a full WRC campaign in 2020, driving his own Polo R5 alongside a partial campaign with Skoda Motorsport.

The WRC returns to Africa for the first time since 2002. The Safari of old has evolved to fit the modern-day WRC, but its character remains with challenging closed dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic wildlife.

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Three more suspected robbers arrested along Southern by-pass – KBC

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Three more suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent spate of robberies targeting motorists along the Southern by-pass.

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The three were arrested in Kibra by detectives based in Langata.

Their arrest follows a detailed analysis and investigations of the robberies, with detectives employing cyber and forensic analysis techniques to identify the beneficiaries of the crimes.

Boniface Winjira Unganyi, the proprietor of Basement Crew mobile shop within Lindi in Kibra, was arrested as the key suspect after a total of 102 mobile phones suspected to have been stolen from victims were recovered from his shop.

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Also arrested were 35-year-old Alex Mboya, who was found in possession of a victim’s phone, and a 16-year-old minor, studying at a secondary school in Langata.

Five other suspects have been arraigned in recent weeks in connection with the violent robberies.

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