Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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SportLack of athletics venues: a new problem in Ethiopia

Lack of athletics venues: a new problem in Ethiopia

On January 1, 2023, the 40th edition of the four-decade-old Jan Meda International Cross Country Championship took place. The competition, which featured distances of 6, 8, and 10 kilometers and took place in Sululta, attracted athletes from clubs, regions, institutions, and individuals.

Solomon Barega, who won the gold medal in the men’s 10,000-meter race at the Olympics, Mukhtar Edris, the 5,000-meter world champion from Doha, and Berihu Aregawi, a winner in numerous international championships, all competed.

Letesenebet Gidey, who holds the world record for women’s long distance running and the 10,000-meter World Athletics Championship, as well as Mekdes Abebe and Tsige Gebre Selama, have all competed in the competition.

Letesenebet from Trans Ethiopia won the women’s 10-kilometer race in 32:21.55. Mekades Abebe from the Amhara region finished third with a time of 35:46.06, followed by Gete Alemayehu from the Oromia region in second place with a time of 35:40.87.

Berihu Aregawi of Ethio Electric won the men’s 10 km competition with a time of 30:44.20. With a time of 30:53.09, Tadese Werku took second place, and Getaneh Mola from the Mechal Club took third place with a time of 30:54.43.

Ethiopia will be represented at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, by the top six finishers in each distance.

Athletes from Ethiopia and Kenya, who are renowned for winning middle and long distance competitions, were successful in finishing first in the cross-country events conducted between 1981 and 2017. Kenya dominated the men’s 12 km race for 18 years, from 1986 to 2013, achieving unprecedented global success.

The Janmeda Championship is a chance for several athletes to represent their nation abroad. The competition was held in Sululta, where everyday practice will take place. However, many competitors dropped out of the tournament.

The windy conditions as well as the location were listed as causes.

Even though it is well known that Jan Meda has hosted the yearly cross-country championship for 40 years, the venue was disqualified because it has also been the site of other events.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) general secretary, Yohannes Engida, explained to The Reporter that it had been difficult to hold an annual tournament in Jan Meda since the COVID-19 outbreak began three years ago.

Instead, the space served as a transient vegetable market.

The Addis Ababa Sports Bureau and the Orthodox Church both claim ownership of the region, which has caused some confusion. There are also numerous construction projects ongoing around Jan Meda and its vicinity.

The shortage of venues to host domestic preliminary competitions in accordance with the World Athletics schedule presents a hurdle, according to the EAF. Running tracks for training and other purposes are still difficult to find. As a result, athletes who are preparing for long-distance and marathon competitions are having accidents.

The sole venue that could conduct competitions and permit athletes to practice whenever they wished was Addis Ababa Stadium. But because the stadium was closed for repairs, many athletes had to train on city streets and highways.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Sports, competitions will soon resume at the Addis Ababa stadium. This is believed to partially resolve the issue.

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