World record holder Eliud Kipchoge was beaten in the London Marathon as Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata won a thrilling sprint finish to claim an unexpected victory.
Four-time winner Kipchoge was the favourite, but fell behind with two laps to go and finished eighth.
The 35-year-old Kenyan, who set a world record of 2:01.39 in 2018, never took the opportunity to pull away from an eight-strong leading pack which he attributed to an ear problem after 25 kms of the race.
“After 25 kilometers my ear blocked and it couldn’t open anymore. But this is how sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time,” he said.
The 24-year old Ethiopian then pushed ahead of Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba on the home straight to finish in two hours five minutes and 41 seconds.
Kitata managed to surge ahead and finish one second before Kipchumba, with Lemma three seconds further back.
The London Marathon, rescheduled from its traditional April date because of the coronavirus pandemic, is taking place for elite runners only over 19 laps around St James’s Park.