Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Countdown to Osaka

With less than three days remaining before the World Championships (the largest sporting event in the world for 2007) it feels like we are in the "quiet before the storm." Actually, as I write this, I look out the window from our condo and see the waves of the Atlantic crash on the beach about 50 meters away from me. My family and I have come here for our annual vacation at Bethany Beach, Delaware, but the weather has been horrible!

The storm has definitely arrived here as can be witnessed from the ongoing rain and stronger waves. Yesterday morning, I bravely went out for a morning run on the beach and returned 30 minutes later completely drenched. I couldn't get myself out the door for more of the same today, so instead I started to look at all that is being written about Ethiopian athletes headed for Osaka. Hopefully, the weather will clear up later today to go back to the pool and ocean with the kids, but in the mean time here is a summary of items I came across:

Short odds for Bekele's distance hat-trick
Who's the greatest? Kenenisa Bekele can take another step towards settling that argument with his third successive 10 000m world title.With Haile Gebrselassie's 5 000m and 10 000m records already in the bag, the diminutive Ethiopian can now move towards the Emperor's 1993-1999 haul of four successive 10 000m world titles."I am not thinking a lot about that at the moment," said Bekele, who also took his hero's Olympic title over the distance in Athens... more

Expected highlights in Osaka - Distances
Looking to the distance contests, several of the sport’s biggest names will be chasing even more superlatives to add to their growing collections at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Osaka, Japan (25 Aug to 2 Sep).

While Kenenisa Bekele may have succeeded his mentor Haile Gebrselassie as a multi World record holder, the 25-year-old Ethiopian still has catching up to do in the ‘titles won’ category. Thus far this season, there’s been no evidence submitted to suggest that Bekele is not an overwhelming favourite to capture his third consecutive 10,000m title. While Bekele looms larger-than-life, his fiercest competition looks to come from compatriots Sileshi Sihine, Gebregziabher Gebremariam, and Tadesse Tola, although Eritrea’s Olympic bronze medallist Zersenay Tadesse, who just missed a sub-27:00 clocking with his solo run at the All African Games, can’t be discounted.

In the 5000m, considerable attention will be directed to Australian Craig Mottram, the reigning bronze medallist, as he seeks to end an African stranglehold... more

For Tufa, 10,000m was not love at first sight
Of the few things that irritated Ethiopian runner Mestawet Tufa in the two years prior to 2007, the mention of the words 10,000m definitely topped the list.

“I hated the mention of the event,” Tufa says. “Five years ago when I competed for the first time in the event in Addis Ababa, I was lapped by five or six runners and finished seventh.”
Instead of working hard and getting better at the event, Tufa chose to stay away from the event until this year when she ‘gambled’ on a decision to return at the 36th Ethiopian Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa.

It has proven to be a masterstroke of a decision that has since seen her take... more