ethiopiantimes

January 24, 2012

Kenenisa Bekele’s suspension lifted

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 4:23 pm
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BRUSSELS — The Ethiopian Athletics Federation lifted the suspension of Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele and 34 others Tuesday, clearing the way for the Ethiopian great to run at the London Games.

Federation president Bisrat Gashawten Tirfe told The Associated Press by telephone that “we have agreed to discuss all the matters concerning their problems.” The athletes were suspended last week for not reporting to training camp.

Bekele won the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Beijing Olympics and holds the world record in both events. He was suspended along with Tirunesh Dibaba, winner of the two long-distance women’s titles in Beijing. The suspension would have prevented them from running at this year’s Olympics.

Bekele’s agent, Jos Hermens, said his client had been extremely angry about the suspension and even inquired about changing nationality.

The crisis started last Thursday when the federation wrote in an email that it “has decided any international competition, including Dubai Marathon, is closed from January 20, 2012, until end of the (Olympic) event on August 2012” for the 35 athletes who did not attend the camp early this month.

The group also included Dibaba’s husband, Sileshi Sihine, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000.

The federation had set up a training camp for its leading athletes early this month to improve preparation for London after a poor showing at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, last August.

Kenya won seven gold medals at the worlds compared to only one for Ethiopia. Kenya was third in the overall medals table with 17, while Ethiopia was ninth with only five.

Bekele has struggled for most of the past two years with injuries and dropped out of the 10,000 in Daegu.

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