Fetiya Abdi began her athletic career at age 14. In school and regional tournaments, she ran shorter distances, primarily the 400 meters. With Tirunish Dibaba, Engayehu Dibaba, and Tiki Gelana as training partners in Bekoji, Fetiya kept up her participation in races of varying distances, including the marathon.
Her athletic career was cut short by an injury, and she has since retired. After changing careers, she has spent nearly a decade in Bekoji town coaching young athletes aged 14 to 19.
Fetiya, with the help of the Sinke Women’s Development Association, which has been supporting athletes in Bekoji for over seven years, recruits female athletes across a wide range of disciplines.
“A variety of support is provided to our athletes, and their regular training is supported. Accordingly, foods, sports equipment, jerseys, and basic materials have been provided by the association,” Fetiya told The Reporter.
According to the Coach, the participants compete in races ranging from 800 to 3000 meters in distance four days a week. They have also competed in project competitions and the Oromia Athletics Championship.
“They have participated in various championships in Oromia and are achieving good results. I have no doubt that they will be able to participate in various international championships tomorrow,” Fetiya said.
The Tirunesh Athletic Training Center and the Bekoji Athletic Training Center, according to Fetiya, are enlisting the majority of the young people in Asela. Six competitors have reportedly registered at the Tirunesh training center to compete in the 3000 meter, 1500 meter, and 800 meter events.
Many of the country’s most successful athletes, who have repeatedly carried the country’s banner at international contests, were born in Bekoji. A lack of athletes to take the place of the veterans has hindered continuing with notable success.
On the other hand, Fetiya told The Reporter that the city is home to many talented athletes who simply lack the resources necessary to engage in sustainable training.
“The athletes are showing that they can be effective if given the necessary support. The teenagers are receiving support from abroad. However, it is not enough. More support is needed,” Fetiya insisted.
She advocated for financial backing from investors and from former notable athletes who left Bekoji.
Bekoji and Eldorate are two cities that are often regarded as being very hospitable to runners. These two nations have historically dominated international long-distance contests. The cities’ elevated positions at 2,800 meters above sea level give local athletes a distinct advantage.
Five Olympic gold medals were won by athletes from the city of Bekoji. Fatuma Roba claimed the gold medal in the marathon, while Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele each won two gold medals at the Olympics.
However, athletics has fallen as a result of a lack of attention to the sport, and the fact that city training fields are being transferred to citizens with no other places to train has contributed to the decline. The lack of an appropriate field has forced athletes to train by the roadside in unfavorable conditions, resulting in traffic accidents and poorer times.
Many foreign athletes have flocked to the city to train, and the stadium has been put to a variety of other uses. The city has an athletic training center, but it falls short of even the most basic standards.
Residents of the city are of the opinion that the athletes have already forgotten about it.
“Even if the athletes the city has produced are not willing to come to Bekoji, we are surprised that they cannot encourage their successors to come to the city to follow in their footsteps,” residents of Bekoji remarked.
On the other hand, reports indicate that Eldoret is just as jam-packed with athletes as it was yesterday. Athletes of all ages frequent the city, but especially those living there. Athletes from all around the world, not just those from the host country, call this metropolis home.
The city is striving to become a tourist hotspot, realizing the economic possibilities sports may bring.
As a city that has produced numerous Kenyan champions, including the current world record holder in the marathon, Elude Kipchoge, Eldoret has constructed a stadium with a capacity of 10,000 spectators for long and medium distance races. There is a USD 35,000 marathon that takes place in Eldoret every year.
International businesses, managers, and sports agents and advisors all congregate at the Kenyan Athletes’ Club in a bid to represent or find talented athletes to sponsor. Despite their similarities, Bekoji has stayed put rather than trying to reclaim its past glory.
For the second year in a row, the Great Ethiopian Run and the Ministry of Tourism put on a race in Bekoji town.
Bekoji town played host to the second annual Great Ethiopian Run race, which was put on in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism.
Winners of the Bekoji Great Run will now also compete in Eldoret and vice versa, under an agreement between the two cities.