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Team Ethiopia does well in London

The Ethiopian athletics team was in London for the 2017 IAAF Championships, at which another 203 nations were also participating. The championships, held August 4 to13, saw superb performance by Ethiopians, and revealed areas for further improvement as well.

With an astonishing finishing, Muktar Edris took over the unbeatable ten-time world champion Mo Farah to earn his first world championship in the men’s 5,000meters, becoming the first person in six years to break Mo Farah’s record at the championships final. Women’s 10,000meter record holder AlmazAyana was another Ethiopian gold medalist at the2017 IAAF championships.

No less important, three silver medals were won by Tirunesh Dibaba in the women's 10,000meters, Tamirat Tola in the men's marathon and Almaz Ayana in the women's 5000meter events.

It was at the 2009 world championships in Berlin that Kenenisa won both the 5,000 and the 10,000meter top tittles.

Save for Kenenisa and Muktar, Team Ethiopia has not been lucky in winning gold in the men’s 5,000meters at the various championships over the past 34 years, instead collecting 5 silver and 4 bronze medals.

Over that same period, Kenyans have dominated the men’s 5,000meters with seven gold, three silver and four bronze medals.

Ethiopians have been dominant in track meetings over the last 12 years. At the Daegu, South Korea championships in2011, Ibrahim Jeilan was a surprise winner, outstripping Mo Farah in the final moments of the race with a stunning performance.

Ethiopia’s track domination was in the hands of the women –Derartu Tulu, Gete Wami, Berhane Adere,Tirunesh Dibaba and Almaz Ayana.

“We prepared for the London championships for 45 days. But, the result wasn’t as we had expected. I don’t think the result was comparable with our preparation,” Ethiopian Athletics Federation vice president Gebreigizabeher Gebremariam comments.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian national team also failed in the women’s 800meter final.  Genzebe Dibaba, the world record holder, finished sixth in the first semi, and qualified for the final as one of the fastest times outside of the automatic qualifiers.  Certainly, many had speculated that she, alongside South African Caster Semenya, were the favorites. Moreover, multiple record holder, Genzebe finished last in the 1,500 meter final. After that disappointing result, she unveiled her decision that she would not be in the 5,000meter qualifier due to illness. 

She was not with the national team while the team commenced preparation at the Addis Ababa Stadium.

According to reports, a spate of arguments between managers, coaches and athletes’ families is the main reason for the existing challenges.

“Arguments between managers and the national team coaches were the main challenge for us even during training. We believe that both are useful for us to manage our athletes in a good way. But it’s our duty combining them as one,” Ethiopian Athletics Federation President Haile Gebresellassie told The Reporter.

The USA topped the medal table with 10 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals, followed by Kenya (11 medals) and South Africa (6 medals).