Sunday’s London Marathon has been dealt a substantial blow with the withdrawal of Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest marathoner in history. The 38-year-old had traveled to London from Ethiopia and joined the prerace bubble at an undisclosed hotel outside of the city, but he confirmed his withdrawal on Friday, citing a left calf injury. “I am very disappointed that I cannot race on Sunday,” Bekele said in a London Marathon press release. “It has been a tough preparation time with lockdown when I couldn’t have my NN team around me. I was in good shape but then I picked up a niggle in my left calf after two fast training sessions too close together in the last weeks of preparation.” Bekele was the chief threat to four-time champion Eliud Kipchoge, and at the prerace press conference on Wednesday he said he had “prepared well” for the race. However, he also said the COVID-19 restrictions in Ethiopia had interfered with his preparation.