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SportTirunesh, Almaz to lead Ethiopian team

Tirunesh, Almaz to lead Ethiopian team

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) announced Wednesday a list of athletes taking part at the 2017 IAAF World Championships to be held in London from August 4 to 13. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba and 10, 000-meter world record holder Almaz Ayana will lead the Ethiopian team.

Five-time IAAF world champion Tirunesh commenced her training early after she had been selected by EAF to lead the Ethiopian delegation alongside 10,000-meter world record holder Almaz Ayana. Tirunesh returned in good shape at the 2017 London Marathon, finishing some 55 seconds behind Mary Keitnay’s women-only world record of 2:17:01, making her the third fastest athlete in history. Only Paula Radcliffe has run faster than her, 2:17:42 in a women-only race; and Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 still stands as the world record from a mixed-gender London Marathon in 2003.

Dibaba returned to the track in 2016 to qualify for and run the 10,000-meter race at the Rio Olympics, where she failed to prevail in the distance for the first time in her career, even though her second-place time was the fourth fastest time in history.

With a consistently high performance at the Olympics and other long-distance competitions, the coming IAAF World Championships will be yet another chance for Tirunesh to make history in long-distance running.

Meanwhile, Almaz Ayana, who broke the 10,000-meter world record at Rio, will represent the Ethiopian team at the London championship in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Almaz has been with the team for the last 45 days doing her training at the Addis Ababa Stadium and elsewhere.

Almaz won bronze in 5000-meters at the 2013 world championships in Moscow. At the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, she won the 5000-meter race, beating compatriot Genzebe Dibaba by a long distance. Both athletes have ample experience in international indoor and outdoor meetings. Thus, all eyes will be on them in London to see who will prevail this time around.

In a related news, it was revealed at an EAF presser Tuesday that legendary long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele would not be part of the Ethiopian team heading to London. According to a statement released by EAF, Kenenisa withdrew himself from the squad, claiming he was “not in top form”. Keninisa is a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

It is to be recalled that Kenenisa won the 2016 Berlin Marathon in 2:03:03, a personal best. Kenenisa finished second in the 2017 London Marathon, with 2:05:57.

The Ethiopian squad comprises 40 athletes who will be taking part in 13 events.

Ethiopian athletes at the London IAAF World Championships

Women 800m

Habtam Alemu, Kore Tola, Mahilet Mulugeta

1500m

Genzebe Dibaba, Gudaf Tsegaye, Besu Sado, Fantu Worku

3000 Steeplechase

Sofia Assefa, Etenesh Dero, Birtukan Fantie

5000m

Almaz Ayana, Genezebe Dibaba, Senebere Teferi, Letesenbet Gidey

10,000m

Almaz Ayana, Tirunesh Dibaba, Dera Dida

Marathon

Birhane Dibaba, Shurre Demise, Aselefech Mirga, Mare Dibaba

20k Walk

Yewaliye Biltew, Ayalnesh Dejene, Askal Tikissa

Men 800

Mohammed Aman, Mamush Lencho,

1500m

Aman Wutee, Samuel Tefera, Teressa Tolesa

3000m and 3000m Steeplechase

Getenet Wasse, Tafesse Seboka, Tesfaye Diriba

5000m

Muktar Edris, Solomon Berga, Yomif Kejelicha, Hagos Geberehiwot

10,000m

Abadi Hadis, Jemal Yimer, Anduamelak Bilu

Marathon

Tamerat Tola, Tsegaye Mekonnen

By Dawit Tolesa

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