It was my ear, laments Kipchoge after London debacle

Monday October 05 2020

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge hopes to come back strong after a blocked ear and problematic hip saw him fail to defend his title for a fifth win in London Marathon on Sunday.

But on the contrary, Kipchoge’s compatriot Brigid Kosgei made light work of awful conditions that were coupled with rains and cold at St James Park to retain her title.

“I'm really disappointed since I thought I would race better. My right ear was blocked, I don't know what happened. I cramped and also had problems with my hip,” said Kipchoge explaining that he was quite fine before and during the initial stages of the race.

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Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (centre in white singlet) in the leading pack during the men's race of the London Marathon on October 4, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | LONDON MARATHON

“After 25 kilometres my right ear was blocked and it couldn't open anymore. It just happened in the race. It's really cold here, but I don't blame the conditions,” said Kipchoge adding that he will consult his coach Patrick Sang to explore what could have happened.

“But this is how sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time. I still have got more marathons in me and I will come back,” vowed Kipchoge.


Kenya's Vincent Kipchumba (left) and Eliud Kipchoge lead the elite men's race of the 2020 London Marathon in central London on October 4, 2020. PHOTO | AFP

Renowned sports therapist Japheth Kariakim indicated that several conditions in London could have affected most athletes who are not used to the weather.

“You can get cramps when muscles cool down due to severe cold. When it’s windy, some can suffer blocked noses which can affect their hearing,” said Kariakim, who has handled Team Kenya for Olympics, Commonwealth, African Games, and World Championships in athletics, among others.

“When ears block, one tends to lose balance and one side of the body starts to bear more balance than the other,” said Kariakim adding that Kipchoge might have been affected by the adverse weather at St James Park.


Kenya's Brigid Kosgei crosses the finish line to win the women's race of the London Marathon on October 4, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | LONDON MARATHON

The women’s race was held under eight degrees but the temperature during the men’s race improved to between 11 to 14 degrees Celsius.

“There has been a long build up to this race with total focus for many months,” said Kosgei, who said that she was humbled by the support from Kenyans with iconic building like KICC bearing her photos.

Kosgei said she felt strong despite the cold weather in London.

“Now is time for rest and recovery," said Kosgei, who thanked her coach Eric Kimaiyo and her team in Kapsait, Elgeyo Marakwet  especially her pacemakers.


Pacesetter Vivian Kiplagat (front) in full control of the leading pack during the London Marathon women's race on October 4, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | LONDON MARATHON

And the ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Kenya, Mele Alem congratulated both Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes for their outstanding performance that saw them beat the world.

“Once again the two East African countries have shown that they are home to world-class elite athletes,” said Alem. “Long distance running is tasteless without Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes.”

Alem also congratulated Kenya for successfully hosting the Kip Keino Classic where his country was strongly represented with the likes of Halu Lemlem winning women’s 1,500m and Argawi Berihu finishing second in men’s 5,000m.

“Athletics is not just sport or entertainment to our youth but rather life,” said Alem.