Ethiopia Running የኢትዮጵያ ሩጫ
The Art and the Tradition of Ethiopian Runners
Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Ethiopian female athletes back home with Great Result No medial in male Marathon due to bad selection in London Olympic
This is extract from the pro governmental journal which never mentioned why the male athletes lost and Ethiopia did not win any medal in Marathon which is an Ethiopian game. The main reason is bad selection. The most experienced like Merga and others were set aside while young with no experience but best time in 2012 were nominated. But Olympic needs Technic, strategy and experience not of speed. It seems the decision making has sleep out of the hands of the experienced coaches. We hope the error must be corrected for the coming 4 years accompanied by a regime change.
Read the regimes justification based on statistical history of Ethiopian Olympic participation to hide the truth here after in their reporter web site.
Ethiopia and the Olympics have been intertwined for more than half a century. Particularly, Ethiopia and the testing marathon have extraordinary ties. Whenever there is marathon race, Ethiopia’s name is mentioned. Apart from that Ethiopia’s name is inseparable from-long distance running, particularly 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Ethiopia first participated in the Olympic Games in 1956 in Melbourne. From then on Ethiopian athletes have been progressing and achieving victories to date. Especially, the 2000 Sydney Olympics brought Ethiopian athletes global fame.
Since 1956 the country has been sending athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games except for the 1976 Montreal Games, the 1984 Los Angeles Games and the 1988 Seoul Games.
So far, over 56 years, Ethiopian athletes have won a total of 42 medals, out of which 27 were won by men participants.
Ethiopian medal success was dominated by men ever since the marathon victory of the legendary Abebe Bikila in 1960 in Rome. Eventually, women came to the fore as Derartu Tulu won the 10,000 meters in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics that made her the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
However, after the track and field races in the 30th Olympiad commenced, the Ethiopian athletics scenario at the London Olympic Games witnessed an unprecedented trend as the women overcame the men’s dominance. In London, Ethiopian men have not been successful. Rather it witnessed the first time for Ethiopian women to shine.
The women looked confident and, unlike the men, they have made good progress in almost all races they participated in.
The emphatic victory of Tirunesh Dibaba in the 10,000 meters race at the cost of her Kenyan rivals is one of the most outstanding victories at London 2012. Meanwhile, a day after Tirunesh’s decisive victory, the defeat of former champion and still the double records holder of 10,000 and 5,000 meters, Kenenisa Bekele, by Somali-born, UK athlete Mohammed Farah, was a blow and the first signal of Ethiopian men’s failure in the distance they were better known for.
As Sophia Assefa has managed to be part of history by winning bronze in the 3000 meters steeplechase and becoming the first Ethiopian woman athlete to get a medal in the category, her male counterpart, Roba, Gari, was not able to be part of history and repeat at least Eshetu Tura’s achievement who took the bronze in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
The other unexpected but stunning achievement was the victory of Tiki Gelana in the women’s marathon, becoming the second Ethiopian woman to win the Olympics marathon. Her win excited many as she was not that much expected to do so.
So far, from the men, only Tariku Bekele won bronze while his brother Kenenisa finished 4th in the men’s 10,000 meters.
Mohammed Aman, one of the young hopefuls who was said to be the underdog in the 800 meters men’s race, could not meet the expectations as he finished sixth in a very powerful and tough competition where the Kenyan athlete David Rudisha won gold with a new world record.
Ethiopian men also were unable to win any medals in the 1,500 meters as well.
The only hope left for the men to make something out of London 2012 was the 5,000 meters which was scheduled a day before the men’s marathon.
Thanks to Dejene Gebremedhin, the country’s reputation was saved when he won silver in the distance.
Still the worst was yet to come. The highly anticipated marathon turned out to be disastrous. The three runners could not even complete the 42 kilometers, let alone win a medal.
Is the dominance closer to kicking the bucket?
The failure of most of the participating men athletes was not simply seen as a truth by most people here at home. Many disappointed fans are expressing their discontent over the result. Meanwhile, others tried to consolidate and accept the result as possible phenomena that can apply in any sporting event though it was bitter truth.
For many Ethiopians, the home of a Marathon medal has been Ethiopia since the legendary Abebe Bikila’s first historical victory for Ethiopia as well as Africa as he won the 1960’s Olympics Marathon in Rome barefooted. Four years later he defended his title victorionsly in Tokyo in 1964.
The marathon eventually became part of Ethiopian Olympics tradition and that tradition was maintained by Mamo Wolde who won gold in Mexico City in 1968. At the same event he won silver in the men’s’ 10,000 meters race. Later on, Mamo won bronze in the 1972 Munich Olympics Marathon.
Another historical moment in Ethiopia’s Olympics history is the coming of Miruts Yifter. The then least known Miruts got bronze in Munich but after that in the 1980 Moscow Olympics he became the first athlete to win double gold medals in 10,000 and 5,000 meters. Though Ethiopian athletes failed to achieve the marathon results of the 60s in the 70s, athletes like Miruts, Mohammed Kedir and Eshetu Tura managed to get the nickname “The Green Flood.” The 80s saw the emergence of Belayneh Dinsamo, the former world marathon record holder and Abebe Mekonnen. However, Ethiopia boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1988 Seoul Olympics. So the two athletes never got the chance to get the glory of Abebe Bikila and Mamo Wolde.
After 32 years, Ethiopians craving for medals got their satisfaction after Gezehagn Abera won the marathon gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Another iconic male athlete is the famous Haile Gebreselasie. For two decades Haile was at the helm of long distance. Not only Ethiopians but the world enjoys Haile’s determination of winning. The world respects him for his unstoppable nature.
Haile is not only considered as a successful runner, but also an inspirational athlete who managed to inspire many young athletes the likes of Million Wolde, Kenenisa Bekele, Sileshi Sihn, Gebregziabher Gebremariam among many others. In addition Haile is also a “symbol of endurance”.
Ethiopian women athletes came in to sight after the cheerful Derartu Tulu won gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics 10,000 meters race making her the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold. She repeated it again in 2000 at the 27th Olympiad with a-world-record time. Fatuma Roba was also another Ethiopian phenomenal woman who became the first black African to win the Marathon at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Similarly, Gete Wami has a bold name in Ethiopia’s athletics history. Her Bronze Medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 10,000 meters and silver and bronze medals in 10,000 and 5,000 meters respectively at the Sydney Olympics brought Ethiopians great pride.
It would not be an understatement if athletics and Ethiopia are taken as two sides of the same coin. And this is the reason why people are irate because of the result of the men’s athletes.
Some pointed out that Kenenisa lacked team-work with his younger brother Tariku Bekele and Gebregziabher Gebremariam in the 10,000 meters final.
Others say that considering his long-time injury, he should have not been selected as there were many other young athletes who had met the qualifying time.
Others also accused the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the Ethiopian Olympic Committee for only focusing on senior athletes.
Other also described the Olympic Committee’s negligence and failure to leave substitutes at home without giving them the chance to travel to London by citing the case of Gebremariam who picked up injury earlier before the race and was finally forced to run with the aid of anesthesia.
“The overall number of Ethiopian delegation for this Olympics is 64. Only 35 of the delegation, including the two swimmers, are actual athletes. The rest are just coaching staffs and official from the federation and Olympic Committee. It is with this consideration that the substitutes were forced to stay back and wait at home. The substitute athletes should have been given a chance to travel with the main delegation as it is difficult to predict would happen ahead. Though there may be no problem on the main competing athletes, the substitute should be given priority, whereby they would at least gain experience for their future career. And Gebregziabher’s case is a good and clear manifestation of this problem,” an Addis Ababan, who requested anonymity, told The Reporter.
According to sources, athlete Lelisa Desasa was chosen to be Gebregziabher’s substitute by the athletics federation. Shortly after Gebregziabher’s injury was noted, the federation was looking to summon Lelisa but he was not available as he left for abroad for another competition on his own immediately after he learned that he was not picked as a first choice athlete for the London Olympics.
A similar case is that of Yanet Seyoum representing Ethiopia for first time in Olympics 50 meters freestyle swimming. The man who was assigned as her manager is a mere office worker who has no relevant skill for swimming, it was learnt.
Cheering and cursing at home
Team Ethiopia arrived back home early on Thursday with three gold, one silver and three bronze medals. The team was welcomed by Kassa Teklebirhan, speaker of House of Federation and Abdisa Yadessa, Sports Commissioner before heading to the National Stadium where a large number of people were waiting to salute and cheer the athletes.
While the team was on its way from the Bole International Airport to the stadium, a lot of people were cheering athletes with joy and jubilation. Four of the five medal winners were waving from inside limousines. However, during the parade there were some people who were openly protesting and criticizing the committee members.
“We love you our dear athletes, but the committee members are corrupt,” was the shouting heard from the crowd on the streets.
The Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the Ethiopian Olympic Committee have been subjected to public criticism and anger accusing the duo of taking too many committee members to London that outnumbered the total number of participating athletes. What makes things worse is that the Olympic Committee’s decision to leave substitute athletes at home has been considered as a disgraceful act by individuals interviewed by The Reporter.
However, Engineer Girma Zewdu, team leader of the London Olympic Delegation, defended the committees’ decision to send so many committee members after The Reporter inquired about the much criticized decision.
“The overall result is good. The main thing is participation in the Olympics as a country level. So we believe it is still good,” he said.
“We do not decide about the number of Delegates as it’s up to the organizer. So it’s not important to speak about this issue. We will give explanation after a few days at a press conference. But I want to underline that all committee members who went to London have duties. So it was impossible to reduce their number. It was our plan to make the substitute stay at home though we have no shortage of budget,” he added.
A few days before the team departed to London, the fundraising committee of the federation collected over 46 million birr.
Haile Gebreselassie also spoke at the public welcoming ceremony at the National Stadium where he advised the young fellow athletes in his sensational remark. He said that the result registered at this Olympic is not bad.
“We may reason out many things for the result as people are unhappy for what we lost in some of the highly expected games…It should not be a question of grassroot change. Instead it should be a matter for correcting mistakes or problems,” he said.
Still there is hope in some of young athletes. The future seems to have fallen on the shoulder of the young brightest athletes such as Dejene, Genzebe, Ababa, Muhamed Aman and many others.