Can Ethiopia’s National Team Keep Up 10,000-Meter Legacy?
The World Athletics Championships bring together the world’s top athletes every two years, making it a dream competition for many. Ethiopia’s athletics national team is among the top athletes who participate in the championship, with most of Ethiopia’s medals in world athletics championships being amassed in the 10km and 5km distances for both sexes.
The countdown to the 2023 World Athletics Championships, to be held in Budapest from August 19 to 27, 2023, has already begun. World Athletics has confirmed the qualifying standards for this year’s championship, which are even tougher than before.
Athletes must meet a minimum of 13:07:00 for the 5000 meters and 27:10:00 for the 10,000 meters for men, while female athletes must meet 14:57:00 for the 5000m and 30:40:00 for the 10k.
The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) has been hosting a trial race in Hengelo, Netherlands, to identify qualified athletes for the championships, as there is no stadium in Ethiopia that meets the standards of world athletics. The top three athletes from the trial race automatically qualified for the competition, with a fourth athlete in reserve.
Although the trial race was held in Hengelo, the EAF has noted that a trial race is set to be hosted at Hawassa Stadium.
However, several coaches are arguing that hosting the trial race in Ethiopia is impossible due to the high altitude of the landscape.
“It is not easy to achieve the 10,000-meter time set by the World Athletics in Hawasa,” coaches said. On the other hand, many coaches have mentioned that the World Athletics did not recognize the preliminary events the EAF planned to hold in Hawassa. According to experts, hosting a trial race in an unrecognized city cannot be accepted and may put the national federation in danger.
The EAF has stated that hosting the trial race in the country “will open up opportunities for new athletes and avoid exposure to high costs by doing the screening abroad.” However, there are concerns about whether athletes will be able to achieve the WA-qualified standard.
Following various criticisms over whether the qualifiers will be held in Hawassa or not, the EAF has yet to announce its decision. An executive committee member of the EAF called an urgent meeting to discuss the matter, and coaches have been summoned to discuss the issue.
The Hungarian capital, which hosted the World Indoor Championships in 1989 and 2004, is set to host the World Athletics Championships from August 19 to 27, 2023. The qualification period for the 10,000-meter race started from January 31, 2022, until July 30, 2023.
Defending world champions, winners of the 2022 Diamond League and World Race Walking Tour, and area champions in selected disciplines will be offered a wild card entry. Top-five finishers at Platinum Label marathons during the qualification period and winners of Gold Label marathons held in 2023 are also considered to have achieved the entry standard.
The WA also announced that the mile, both in the stadium and on the road, will now be a qualifying event for the 1500m, while performance achieved on the road in the 5km and 10km will be eligible for qualification in the 5000m and 10,000m, respectively.
The top eight athletes in the world cross country rankings who are not otherwise qualified through other pathways will be considered qualified for the 10,000m.
The Budapest Athletics Center will host 49 events for the 19th World Championships, with more than 2,000 athletes from over 200 competing nations expected to participate. As the countdown to the championship continues, the pressure is on for athletes to meet the demanding qualifying standards and secure their place among the world’s top competitors.
With the championship just around the corner, the Ethiopian national team is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to compete in the 10,000-meter distance, which has historically been a strong suit for Ethiopian athletes.
As the world’s best athletes prepare to face off in Budapest, the pressure is on Ethiopia’s national team to perform. With the bar set higher than ever before, the team’s rigorous training and preparation will be put to the test. Fans around the world will be watching closely as these incredible athletes strive for victory on the world stage.