London Glory can Ease Khannouchi's Olympic Heartbreak
World marathon record holder Khalid Khannouchi - his dreams of Olympic glory apparently wrecked by bureaucratic red tape - has instead set his sights on winning Sunday's London Marathon.
Khannouchi, a Moroccan who had set his sights on Olympic glory for the United States in Sydney in October but the Moroccan exile's hopes of gaining US citizenship.
"London is an important race to win and that's what I want to do for all my friends and supporters," Khannouchi said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Yes, it is one of the greatest marathons in the world but you cannot compare it with an Olympic gold medal.
"That is my biggest ambition. It would be something to cherish and a gold medal can never be taken away from you."
Khannouchi could still yet run at the Olympics for Morocco, but when asked about his country of birth, he countered: "I don't want to talk about Morocco. It is the blame of the Federation. They do things differently and make me angry."
"It's not as if the men are running the race for me. I still have to run 26 miles (42km) and I still have to do the time.
"I've wanted to run in London for some time and I don't really care what kind of race I run in. But I think I have to prove on Sunday that I'm also a woman."
But the pre-race favourite still continues to insist there are other class runners in the field apart from fellow Kenyan Chepchumba, who also won in 1997 when passing Liz McColgan almost in the final five yards - to deny the Scot a second successive victory.
Loroupe sent a timely reminder to the remainder of the elite field not to ignore last year's World Championships gold medallist Jong Song-Ok of North Korea and Romania's Lidia Simon, who in the all-woman Osaka race just over two months ago ran a personal best 2:22:54 - LONDON (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)