American Khannouchi withdraws

Updated: February 24, 2005, 10:04 AM ET

LONDON -- New York marathon champion Hendrik Ramaala will compete in the London event on April 17.

The 33-year-old South African is a former soccer player who took up running 13 years ago.

"This is great news for us," race director David Bedford said Thursday. "Hendrik has started to fulfill his promise at the marathon and we've got just the field to test him."

A spokeswoman for the London organizers said American Khalid Khannouchi, who set a world record in the 2002 event, had withdrawn because he did not think he would be race fit.