Sunday, September 24, 2023
SportEthiopian athletes vie for championship glory

Ethiopian athletes vie for championship glory

The 44th World Cross Country Championship gets underway today in Bathurst, Australia. Different national teams’ athletes have landed in Australia, with exceptional athletes from Ethiopia being among the few favorites to win the championships.

This competition is scheduled to draw 453 athletes representing 48 countries.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) picked 28 competitors (14 men and 14 women) to compete in Australia after the 40th Jan Meda International Cross Country Championships were held in Sululta in January.

In each of the three distance categories (6, 8, and 10 kilometers), Ethiopia will be represented by a team of six elite and young athletes of both sexes that qualified for the Championships.

The championships will feature a number of top athletes, including Letesenbet Gidey. With world records in both the 5000 meters (14:06:62) and the 10,000 meters (29:01:03), the 24-year-old is a prohibitive favorite to win gold. She has also won the world cross-country championship in 2015 and 2017.

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Gete Alemayehu and Tsige Gebereselama are also in the women’s elite race, along with Letesenebet.

Gete set a new PB at the half marathon with a time of 1:06:37 and finished second in the preliminary races as well. Tsige, who placed third in the Jan Meda championship and third in the U20 event at Aarhus Cross Country in 2019, has similar podium aspirations for this year’s competition.

But Ethiopia’s long-time rival Kenya is likely to send runners who can place in the top three and even compete with Ethiopia’s famous runners.

Beatrice Chebet of Kenya is one of the participants considered to pose a stern challenge. Beatrice finished second in the 5,000-meter race at the World Championships; she won the U-20 World Cross Country Championship in 2019.

Rahel Daniel of Eritrea is another athlete who could give the Ethiopians a run for their money. As of now, Rahel’s season is looking good; she placed sixth in the 10,000-meter race at the Oregon World Championships with a time of 30:12:15, and she set a new national record in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 14:36:66.

Melknat Wudu, Lemlem Nibret, and Meseret Yeshaneh are some of the young women from Ethiopia who will compete in the youth competition.

Melknat is an up-and-coming athlete who has already brought home two medals from the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, 2021: a bronze in the 3000 m and a silver in the 5000 m races.

Lemlem, on the other hand, will line up alongside her Ethiopian teammates despite her lack of experience competing for her country at international events. She has a 5,000-meter personal best of 15:23.93 from last year.

Meseret Yeshaneh, a bronze medalist at the world championships in the U20 steeplechase, is a member of the Ethiopian team that has a great shot at capturing their fourth straight team title in the U20 women’s race.

In the men’s race, Ethiopia will be represented by Solomon Barega, Berihu Aragawi, and Getenet Wale.

An injury has forced Tadese Worku, who came in second place in the Jan Meda race and was expected to compete in the championship, to withdraw.

Berekete Zeleke, Boki Diriba, Abel Bekele, and Bereket Nega will lead the U20 men’s Ethiopian squad in Bathurst. This past month, Bereket Zeleke competed in and won the U20 men’s race at the famous Jan Meda Cross Country, which also served as Ethiopia’s qualifying competition for Bathurst.

Abel lagged behind Diriba by barely two seconds. Despite finishing sixth, Bereket Nega has shown he can compete at a high level on the international stage.

The last time a woman from a country other than Ethiopia or Kenya made it onto the podium in the U20 division at a World Cross Country event was in 1999.

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