Despite protests over the exclusion of Ethiopia’s long distance champion, Kenenisa Bekele from representing his country in the Rio Olympics in August, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation said on Wednesday that they will not reconsider their selection criteria to make room for the runner.
The officials insist that Bekele did not met the set of rules that would see him become part of a four-man team.
“We have a criteria to select athletes for the Olympic Games, unfortunately one of our best and most famous athlete has not met these requirements. If we don’t take Kenenisa to the Games, it is not because we hate him, it is because he did not gather enough points during the selection to go to the games,” said the Ethiopian Athletics Federation president Alebachew Nigusse
If we don't take Kenenisa to the Games, it is not because we hate him, it is because he did not gather enough points during the selection to go to the games
Bekele is a three-time Olympic champion and the 5,000 and 10000 metres world record holder.
He had an Achilles heel injury that left him out for the better part of the past year.
He criticized the officials by saying they “lack competence” and “most are chasing personal interests” and threatened to never run for his mother land again.
Bekele garnered support from fellow Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie and more than 100 other athletes who protested against the federation’s decision.
However, the officials reiterated their stance and said that they are not willing to entertain ideas or recommendations that do not come through the right procedure.