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Lel gets all-clear to defend London title

  • Story Highlights
  • Two-time defending London Marathon champion Martin Lel gets all clear to run
  • The Kenyan's recent MRI scan revealed no serious damage to a hip problem
  • Organizers have assembled top-class fields for both men's and women's races
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(CNN) -- Two-time defending champion Martin Lel has been given the all-clear to run in Sunday's London Marathon after battling with a hip problem.

Kenyan Lel crosses the finish line after winning last year's London Marathon.

Kenyan Lel crosses the finish line after winning last year's London Marathon.

The 30-year-old Kenyan, who has won the event for the past two years, as well as in 2005, was diagnosed with tendon inflammation following an MRI scan but there was no serious damage to the hip bone.

Organizers have assembled one of the strongest-ever fields for a marathon, with Lel facing the three medallists from the Beijing Olympics and fellow-Kenyan Luke Kibet, the reigning world champion.

Lel was suffering from a bout of malaria in Beijing, finishing fifth, and is keen to set the record straight with gold medal winner and compatriot Samuel Wanjiru. "The problem was sickness," he said.

"A couple of months after London I had malaria and I felt unwell for some time. I knew I would not get enough time to prepare for Beijing and it was good for me to be in the top five."

Wanjiru is eyeing Haile Gebrselassie's world record of two hours three minutes 59 seconds and pacemakers will be deployed for a record attempt this year.

Other contenders include Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, who will be running in his first marathon.

Two-time world champion Jaouad Gharib of Marocco is also back to try and win London for the first time after taking silver in Beijing.

In the women's race, the absence through injury of world record holder Paula Radcliffe leaves defending champion Irina Mikitenko and Beijing Olympic gold medal winner Constantina Dita as favorites.

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