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Ethiopia finishes fifth in World Athletics Championships
Ethiopian men marathoners podium at Doha, Qatar

Ethiopia finishes fifth in World Athletics Championships

The biennial event of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), though it started in a lukewarm setting, it ended with 86 national records broken and promising future talents witnessed. The 17th edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championship, which was held in Doha, Qatar, has concluded last week with numerous medals going out to the victors in various sports.

The Ethiopian athletics team, popular in long distance running, concluded the competition with two gold medals, five silver and one bronze, finishing the championships fifth on the medal chart.

The Popular struggle between Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes was highly anticipated to highlight the event. Various athletes, who have performed well in Diamond League and other championships, were chosen to participate. Several athletes, especially debutants as well as known athletes have managed to perform well, catching the eye of many.

Nevertheless, Ethiopian athletes have shown a more individualistic nature this time around, rather than focusing on teamwork, which has been prevalent in previous competitions. Ethiopia came in first in the 5000 meter men’s race via Muktar Edris and won in the men’s marathon race though Lelisa Desisa while five silver medals were collected in the marathon, 10k, 5000m and 3000m races. Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegaye has won the only bronze medal in the 1500m event.

Criticized for not building a team, Ethiopian athletes could not manage to be consistent in most of the races, including races in which they have managed to get a leading position much earlier in the competition, due mainly to failure in tactics. In this regard, several veteran athletes have complained about the specific techniques used. The 10k track race was especially disappointing for Ethiopian, Yomif Kejelicha. 

Muktar Edris celebrating his win in the Men’s 5000m race
Muktar Edris celebrating his win in the Men’s 5000m race

 

According to Haile Gebresillasie, it was not the right timing to sprint-and break-out from the group in the last lap of the 10k race. Haile argues that Ethiopian Yomif had a chance to win the race, if he had stayed until half of the last lap. However, Kenyan Joshua Cheptegei took the lead and finished with 26:48.36 and Yomif Kejelicha ended up finishing second with a time of 26:49.34; 1.02 seconds off the leader.

Furthering the disappointment, the men’s 3000m steeplechase race was won by Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya with a time of 8:01.35. Lamecha Girma lost out on Gold, finishing second in a time of 8:01.36 narrowly missing out by 0.01 microseconds.

Elsewhere, Ethiopian women marathoners had a difficult outing with several athletes dropping out of the race. The team was represented by Ruti Aga, Shure Demissie and Roza Dereje. The race, which started at midnight with humidity at 70 percent and temperature reaching 32 degrees, saw a record of 28 athletes dropping out from the 68 total. Following the marathon race, the Ethiopia Athletics Federation (EAF) decided that it will ban its athletes from participating in any races for the coming three months, in a bid to protect its athletes.

Showing promise for the 2020 Olympics, the Ethiopian duo Selemon Barega, and Lamecha Girma became the youngest ever world champions to earn medals in the competition.

The US concluded the event with 29 medals including 14 gold medals, while Kenya is placed second via 11 medals, including the five gold medals. Coming in third, Jamaica finished with 12 medals amassed, of which three are gold medals.

The IAAF World Athletics Championships was described as the best in history in terms of the quality and depth of performance produced by the athletes representing more than 200 nations.

Speaking after the final evening session, the IAAF president Sebastian Coe noted that six championship records had been set, 43 countries have won medals, and athletes from 68 different nations, had achieved at least a top-eight finish. According to the statement made by the IAAF, 86 national records have also been broken, underlining the global reach of the sport.

“The world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance ranking, which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competitions,” IAAF president Sebsatian Coe stated.

It was the first time the competition was held in October and in the Middle East. Nearly, 2000 athletes from 209 nations competed in 49 athletics events over the ten days, comprised of 24 team events for each groups of men and women.