Weynay Ghebresilasie hoping to represent Great Britain at Paris Olympics
Weynay Ghebresilasie hopes to represent Great Britain at the Paris Olympics, 12 years after he was the flag bearer for Eritrea at London 2012.
Ghebresilasie, then an 18-year-old steeplechaser, stayed in Britain after the Games to avoid conscription in his dictatorship home country.
He settled initially in Sunderland and worked for Land Rover before moving to Glasgow, and last year became eligible to run for Britain.
Now, 10 years on from the London Games, Ghebresilasie was the first British finisher at the London Marathon, coming home in ninth place.
“Before the 2012 Olympics my country was not in a good situation, I was in the army and I didn’t like that, that’s why I stayed in Britain,” he said.
“My plan is to run at the World Championships and the Paris Olympics. I will try to prepare for my next London Marathon and hopefully run for Great Britain.”
London debutant Amos Kipruto, a world bronze medallist in Doha in 2019, won the men’s race.
The 30-year-old Kenyan clocked 2 hours, four minutes and 39 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Leul Gebresilase, with Bashir Abdi of Belgium in third.
Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw recovered from a bruising fall to win the women’s race.
The 23-year-old appeared to trip on a speed bump with six miles remaining, banging her head and hurting her hip and knee.
But she somehow recovered to rejoin the leading pack and came home in 2:17.25, the third fastest time at the event, to become the youngest women’s winner.
“I did not see the bump coming. I have some feeling in my hip and knee,” she said.
“I had confidence I could run well. I am so happy to win on my first time in London. People were shouting a lot and it inspired me.”
Defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya had to settle for second.
There was a 10th-placed finish for Britain’s Rose Harvey, who only took up serious marathon running during lockdown after losing her job in corporate finance law.
“I got made redundant,” the 30-year-old revealed. “I had three months’ gardening leave and I started training for a half ironman.
“That got scrapped pretty quickly. I can’t swim. Eleven months later I ran 2:31 in Cheshire. I got a new job but kept going.
“Lockdown was pretty rubbish in all other respects but it was the start of my running career.”
The men’s wheelchair title was retained by Switzerland’s Marcel Hug in a course record time of 1:24.38.
He won a sprint finish against American Daniel Romanchuk with Britain’s David Weir, in his 23rd London Marathon, coming home in third.
Catherine Debrunner made it a Swiss double with victory in the women’s wheelchair race in 1:38.24.
Next year’s Marathon will return to its traditional date in April having been held in October for the last three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.