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Athletics: Sisay Lemma sends a message to Eliud Kipchoge for the 2024 Olympics

Sisay Lemma marathon Valence
Athletics: Sisay Lemma sends a message to Eliud Kipchoge for the 2024 Olympics

Winner of the Valencia marathon on Sunday December 3, 2023 in 2h01mn48, Sisay Lemma becomes the 4th best 42 km performer in history. The Ethiopian is now a serious contender to Eliud Kipchoge for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Eliud Kipchoge is no longer alone in the world. Last April, Kenyan Evans Chebet had already suggested as much when he won the Boston Marathon ahead of his legendary compatriot, king of the 42 km. But there were extenuating circumstances for the double Olympic marathon gold medallist.

It was his comeback race and he had only finished sixth. What's more, Chebet's time (2h05mn54) was not so famous as to constitute a major threat. This was in stark contrast to the strong performance of another 23-year-old Kenyan, Kelvin Kiptum. On October 8, he literally broke Kipchoge's record at the Chicago Marathon. He crossed the finish line after 2h00min35s, erasing the 2h01min09s. Just when you thought that in eight months' time, three Kenyans would be battling it out for the title of Olympic champion, an Ethiopian sent a message on Sunday December 3. His name is Sisay Lemma.

The 32-year-old, who has been on the marathon circuit for a decade, won the famous Valencia race with a superb time. Sisay Lemma clocked 2h01mn48. This makes him the fourth-best performer in the discipline, behind Kiptum and running legends Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele. He won ahead of Alexander Mutiso (Kenya in 2h03mn11), Dawit Wolde (Ethiopia in 2h03mn48), and Kenenisa Bekele (2h04mn19). "It's incredible to win here in such a fast time, I'm over the moon," said the winner.

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