Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mestewat Tufa- Let Her Run!

Although most of the news regarding Ethiopian athletes during the past couple of weeks has been about Haile Gebrselassie’s record breaking performance in Ostrava on June 27, there was a significant event that went under the radar just one day earlier. On June 26, in Valkenswaard, Netherlands, Mestewat Tufa ran the year’s fastest 10000M finishing in 31:00.27, which is five seconds faster than the previous year’s best.

With this performance, the unheralded Mestewat earned herself a spot on Ethiopia’s National Team that will compete at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan in August. Incidentally, it is worth noting that Mestewat took second place behind Meselech Melkamu earlier this year in February at the
24th Jan Meda Cross Country which served as Ethiopia’s qualifying meet for the World Cross Country meet held in Mombasa, Kenya in March.

Despite Mestewat’s spectacular result, there were some reports that the coaches dropped Mestewat Tufa from the Mombasa line-up just the night before the race and gave the spot to Ahaza Kiros, who finished fifth at the Jan Meda trial. This decision
caused a mutiny by Ethiopia’s men runners, who came to the defense of Mestewat, threatening to boycott the championship race on the following day unless Mestewat was reinstated. Mestewat herself was reportedly quite angry and took on matters literally in to her own hands, physically confronting one of the coaches. Eventually she was given back her spot and took part in the Senior Women’s race and finished 47th.

One can not help but wonder what may have initiated the coaches to undertake such a disruptive action at the last possible moment. Perhaps the heat and humidity was the least of all the problems Ethiopia’s athletes faced in Mombasa.

Now that Mestewat has once again earned herself a spot on the National Team, she should be allowed to run in Osaka without any interference. She has shown that she is the world’s best 10000M runner so far this year, and she deserves a chance to go for the gold in Osaka. Let her run!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lately we have been given some athlets from the ruling minotity ethnic group although they have not realy proven them selves to be wothy of nomination. I remember one lady who was passed twice by Meseret defar in the same race and still being kept on the national team. I can not believe these people would choose to go this low just to make their side look good.But this is not something that they can wish it happen and it happens.We all know where the real athletes come from.They can send some third rate athelets from their side but can they maake them win? The answer so far has been a big NO.

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