Ge­brse­lassie to head Ethiopia ath­let­ics

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

LONDON — Re­tired run­ning leg­end Haile Ge­brse­lassie has been elected pres­i­dent of the Ethiopian Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion.

The 43-year-old sports star, con­sid­ered one of the great­est dis­tance run­ners of all time, will serve a four-year term, with lo­cal me­dia re­port­ing he won nine of the 15 votes to se­cure the pres­i­dency.

“I feel so hon­oured to be elected pres­i­dent of the Ethiopian Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion! Will work on a great fu­ture for Ethiopian ath­let­ics!” the run­ner wrote on Twit­ter late on Satur­day.

Ge­brse­lassie had been a vo­cal critic of the Ethiopian fed­er­a­tion, ac­cus­ing its lead­ers of “in­com­pe­tence” in pre­par­ing the Rio Olympics.

The for­mer cham­pion — a 10 000m dou­ble Olympic gold medal­list and mul­ti­ple marathon champ — took part in a de­mon­stra­tion against the fed­er­a­tion’s se­lec­tion cri­te­ria and its de­ci­sion to drop triple Olympic cham­pion Ke­nenisa Bekele from the team.

Ethiopia went on to win just eight medals at Rio, in­clud­ing only one gold for Al­maz Ayana in the women’s 10 000m, and placed 44th in the coun­try rank­ings, far be­hind Kenya its neigh­bour and his­toric ri­val.

Ge­brse­lassie sub­se­quently called on the fed­er­a­tion lead­er­ship to re­sign, say­ing he was will­ing to “share his ex­pe­ri­ence” and help Ethiopia to pre­pare for the up­com­ing IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Ath­let­ics in London in 2017 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The Ethiopian Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion is also fac­ing sev­eral cases of al­leged dop­ing among its ath­letes with at least five dis­tance run­ners test­ing pos­i­tive and be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for us­ing mel­do­nium, the same sub­stance that earned ten­nis player Maria Shara­pova a two-year sus­pen­sion — AFP

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