News : Bekele. The legend will not be in Tokyo
Kenenisa Bekele’s soap opera with the Ethiopian Federation and qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics has been tremendous but seems to have come to an end.
Namely. Initially, the Ethiopian Federation announced that they would represent the African country those with the three best brands within the stipulated period of qualification. Let’s remember that Kenenisa has not run since Berlin 2019, when he stopped the clock at 2:01:41, just two seconds behind Eliud Kipchoge’s World Record. Obviously no one in his country was above him.
The problem is that some time later the Federation announced that finally there would be a test to make sure that those selected were fit. It was going to be in Geneva, Switzerland, but finally due to COVID it was held in Sebeta (Ethiopia), a town located at 2,400 meters above sea level (surreal where there are, no number, no chip, with open traffic and herds of goats and cows crossing), over 35 kilometers.
She had previously resigned Bekele, who in a letter issued a few days earlier assured that the race was too close to the Olympic event and that it was dangerous due to the risk of injury. That and that he had already fulfilled achieving the best mark of all (his 2:01:41 in Berlin, second best time in history) in the qualifying period.
Shura Kitata, Lelisa Desisa and Sisay Lema they had been the three to win the ticket in those ‘trials’, although a few days later the Ethiopian Olympic Committee included the Olympic champion of 5,000 and 10,000 in the Olympic marathon list thus generating more uncertainty.
Despite the pressure exerted by Bekele, L’Equipe echoes statements by his agent Jos Hermens during the Ethiopian Trials that are being held in Hengelo. Bekele seems to have given in to the fight with the federation, “he gave up.” There will be no fourth Olympic medal for Bekele nor will he become the first athlete capable of winning gold in 10,000 and marathon in the last 69 years. Now he intends to prepare for one of the great autumn marathons.
Neither will the other two Ethiopians with better personal marks, Birhanu Legese (third best mark in history with 2:02:48 and Mule Wasihun with 2:03:16.