Ethiopian athlete Feyisa Lilesa will make his return to the highest level of distance running when he appears at the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 25.
The 28-year-old has recently returned from a period of exile in the USA, having made an anti-government gesture while crossing the finish line and clinching the marathon silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The election of a new reformist government in Ethiopia has allowed Lilesa to return to his home country and he is in training to return to the Dubai Marathon for the first time since his fourth-place finish at the event in 2015.
"It has been a difficult time for Feyisa but we are delighted he has chosen to compete in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, which is the only IAAF Gold Label race in the Middle East," said Event Director Peter Connerton.
"Although his training regime was disrupted while in exile, he has a personal best of 2:04:52 to his name as well as being an Olympic silver medalist in Rio, finishing second to current world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, and a World Championship bronze medal winner.
"Now that he is home in Ethiopia and training in familiar surroundings, we look forward to seeing him back to his best when we stage the 20th anniversary of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in less than three months’ time."
Feyisa - a marathon winner in Dublin, Xiamen and Tokyo - is one of many world-class athletes expected on the starting line on January 25, in what is the biggest mass-participation event in the region.