Saturday, September 23, 2023
SportEthiopia's young lions ready to roar

Ethiopia’s young lions ready to roar

Ethiopia’s crop of young rising stars are poised for success at next week’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, where several young talents on the squad are primed for breakout performances on the global stage.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) selected 31 middle and long distance runners to take the track and road in hopes of bringing home medals. Highlighting the squad are several World U20 medalists and Diamond League victors poised for breakout global performances including Sembo Alemayehu, Diribe Welteji and Birke Hayelom.

Sembo leads the charge in the 3000 meter steeplechase. The 18-year old showed glimpses of promise when he snagged silver at the World U20 Championships before capturing gold at the Diamond League’s Golden Gala Pietro Mennea meet in Italy.

Similarly, 21-year old Diribe looks to build on her fourth place finish in the 800 meters at last month’s World Championships in Oregon. With speedy personal bests at 800, 1500 and 3000 meters, Diribe has the versatility for an upset on the home stretch.

Birke, a 1500m runner, won gold at the 2022 World U20 Championships in Colombia, running a personal best of 4:01.86 at the Doha Diamond League, where she placed sixth. With fast times already under her belt, Birke has high hopes for the World Championships.

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For these rising stars, Budapest represents a chance for glory on the world stage – and the making of legends back home.

The young athletes have set personal bests in recent seasons across multiple events. However, questions remain about how the Federation will deploy its athletic arsenal at the World Championships.Success in Budapest could provide momentum heading into the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The Federation has yet to finalize which athletes will represent Ethiopia in specific events at the World Championships. Those who have qualified continue regular training while they wait for the Federation’s decision.

In the past, the Federation has selected athletes in an inconsistent manner, not fully preparing candidates until determining who will compete.

Coaches worry that past inconsistencies in athlete selection hurt Ethiopia’s performance, noting the Federation must make strategic choices this time. While some runners want to double-up, others should be tapped as alternates in case plans change. Coaches emphasized that the Federation’s final selections should be strategic to maximize Ethiopia’s chances of success.

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