London call up tough field for 2006

Organisers of the 2006 Flora London Marathon next April sure know how to stir the hornets' nest.

Yesterday confirmation of the ING New York City Marathon champion and World record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya and the defending champion Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa has raised the stakes considerably.

Still smarting from his dramatic loss at the finish line to Tergat last Sunday in New York, the closest ever finish in the 36-year history of the event (at 2:09:30 to 2:09:31), Ramaala would not be willing to relinguish his London title as well, not least in that painful fashion.

However, Tergat and Ramaala will have to contend in London with the two-time Olympic Champion and four-time World Champion, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, who signed a three year deal with the London Marathon back in January 2005.

The 32-year-old Gebrselassie, had earlier won the Amsterdam marathon in 2:06:20 last month

Race Director Dave Bedford said: "This exciting rematch will be eagerly anticipated, especially as Tergat’s great arch rival and old friend Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), will also be joining them on 23 April 2006, and we have of course yet to announce the other signings in the men’s field."

Meanwhile, Kenyan William Kiplagat sets a course record in Seoul on Sunday 6th November.

The 33-year-old recorded his sixth career sub-2:10 marathon when winning the JoongAng Seoul Marathon in his season's best of 2:08:27 - the fourth fastest of his career, and his best since 2003.

His personal best of 2:06:50 was set in Amsterdam in 1999. In 2003, Kiplagat ran 2:07 twice (Rotterdam 1st and Amsterdam 4th).

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