Ethiopia, athletes start negotiations for London Olympics

2 mins read

By The Africa Report

Ethiopian authorities will on Tuesday commence negotiations with 35 athletes Ethiopia banned from participating at the London Olympics.

 Last week Ethiopia banned 35 athletes, including Olympic men’s 5,000 and 10,000 metres champion Kenenisa Bekele, from the summer games in a row over training.

Athlete Tirunesh Dibaba, Beijing Olympic double Gold winner in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres is also among the banned athletes.

The banning of the athletes has sparked heated debate in the sporting fraternity and the media.

Discussions have been on who will replace the stars at the London Olympics, to be held in six months.

It is with this background that the negotiations between the feuding sportsmen and the Ethiopian athletic federation were initiated.

How can an athlete who runs for records and a beginner train equally

“I really didn’t expect such a decision from the federation. It is bad news and we received it during the holidays,” Bekele said.

He said he expects the negotiations to solve the problem and that he will be in the team to represent the country at the games.

Bekele said he was comfortable with stipulations by the federation that the sports persons train en masse.

“How can an athlete who runs for records and a beginner train equally. This is what the federation didn’t understand,” he said.

The federation accused the banned athletes of not participating in national training programmes.

Over 200 athletes were selected for a national training programme and they will later be screened for the final selection for the London Olympics.

Bekele, 29, had not raced since a 2009 injury.

However, he was back to his best at the Brussels Diamond League, setting a year’s best time for the 10,000.

Ethiopian athletes are famed for their performances over long distances.

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