President of the Ethiopian Olympic Committee (EOC), Ashebir Woldegiorgis (MD), announced that kenenisa Bekele will represent Ethiopia and compete in the coming Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
In his comments, Ashebir acknowledged that the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) has the mandate to select the athletes.
“Passing decision on who makes the cut is the responsibility of the Athletics Federation. Our main demand is to achieve results that will raise the flag of our country. So, we can’t stand by and watch when athletes who have one of the best times are left out of the competition due to improper practices,” Ashebir said.
It is to be recalled that the EAF held a 35 km marathon trial race in Sebeta last weekend. However, Kenenisa had rejected the trial and submitted a letter denouncing the move to the Ethiopian athletics governing body.
Kenenisa pointed out in the letter that his performance in the international race held a year ago that led to his selection in the national team should be respected. Furthermore, he mentioned he had been preparing for the Olympics over the past year.
However, the EAF technical committee recommended all athletes go through trials before selection for the Olympics. The reason given for the recommendation was that there were no international races held over the past year to base the selection of the athletes for the Olympics, and said the best option was to go for the trials regardless of the athlete’s status.
To that effect, various athletes of both sexes including the 2020 London Marathon winner Shura Kitata participated in the trials.
Shura Kitata, Lelisa Desisa, and Sisay Lemma won the men’s race while Tigest Girma, Birhane Dibaba, and Roza Dereje won the women’s race.