Tirunesh Dibaba has pulled out of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon with a shin injury.
The Ethiopian triple Olympic track champion was due to make her debut over 26.2 miles in London on 21 April but has been forced to postpone her move up to the marathon because a previous problem with her lower leg re-emerged during training.
She said: “I have been in training for the London Marathon, but the increase in mileage has caused a flare up of my previous lower leg injury.
“As a result, I won't be able to compete in this year’s London Marathon but I look forward to making my marathon debut there next year.”
Dibaba retained her Olympic 10,000m title at London 2012 last summer and added a bronze in the 5000m after winning both events at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She has also bagged four gold medals at World Championships and five World Cross Country titles in an illustrious career.
She won the Great North Run half marathon last September and was aiming to become the first Ethiopian since her cousin Derartu Tulu in 2001 to win the women’s race at the London Marathon.
Dibaba’s withdrawal leaves Olympic champion Tiki Gelana to spearhead the Ethiopian challenge at her first London Marathon. Gelana will face World Champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, plus World and Olympic silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo in a race featuring five women who have completed the distance in less than two hours 20 minutes.
London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said: “Of course, it is disappointing to lose Tirunesh. She has been such a fantastic athlete on the track, and everyone was full of anticipation to see how well she performed in a marathon, so we would be naturally delighted to see her return to London in 2014 as part of the London Marathon elite field.
“We still have a fantastic women’s race in prospect, however, with the Olympic and World Champions going head-to-head, and so many winners from major city marathons around the world.”

The women's elite field for the 2013 Virgin London Marathon:
Personal Best
Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia)2:18:58
Lucy Kabuu (Kenya)2:19:34
Yoko Shibui (Japan)2:19:41
Florence Kiplagat (Kenya)2:19:44
Edna Kiplagat (Kenya)2:19:50
Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya)    2:20:14
Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia)2:21:01
Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia)2:22:03
Yukiko Akaba (Japan)2:24:09
Remi Nakazato (Japan)2:24:28
Jéssica Augusto (Portugal)  2:24:33
Alevtina Biktimirova (Russia)2:25:12
Mai Ito (Japan)2:25:26
Chika Horie (Japan)2:26:11
Renee Baillie (USA)      2:27:17
Olga Dubovskaya (Belarus)2:28:08
Freya Ross (Great Britain)  2:28:10
Adriana da Silva (Brazil)  2:29:17
Joyce Chepkirui (Kenya)       Debut
Helen Clitheroe (Great Britain)Debut