Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
- PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Kebede vs Mogusu? – Fukuoka Marathon preview (4 December 2009)
- PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Beirut Marathon reflects growing passion for road running (5 December 2009)
Monday, November 30, 2009
- PREVIOUS NEWS: Record field of 10,000 runners the new barrier for Kosgei to clear – Florence Marathon, PREVIEW (26 November 2009)
- PREVIOUS NEWS: Ethiopian duo target success in Florence Marathon (26 November 2009)
Monday, November 23, 2009
Chane and Jelila grab shock victories in Sendafa XC (16 November 2009) - Abera Chane beat favorite Imane Merga, who finished fourth; Koreni Jelila was victorious over favorite Sule Utura, who finished third.
Former Olympic champion leads Ethiopian team in Obudu (18 November 2009) - Accomplished long distance runner Meseret Defar will run the Obudu International Mountain Race and lead the Ethiopian runners at the first African mountain running championships.
Ethiopia's Kenenisa voted for 2009 "Heroes of Running" (20 November 2009) - Kenenisa Bekele one of six inspirational individuals chosen for honor by Runner's World magazine.
Gebremariam and Augusto the victors in Oeiras (21 November 2009) - The IAAF Cross Country Permit Season opens with a victory by Ethiopian Gebregziabher Gebremariam at the Oeiras Cross Country.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
19 Year old Tilahun Regassa won the men's race and improved the course record by almost 30 seconds. Earlier this month Tilahun had finished 4th in the Delhi half Marathon. Deriba Merga winner of the Delhi half was a DNF in this race. Tilahun has had a great year on road races this year winning numerous races.
In the women's race, 23-year-old Koreni Jelila improved the course record by more than 40 seconds. Koreni was the suprise winner of the Sendafa Crosscountry race last week.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
- PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Men’s champions from 2008 and 2007 highlight SunTrust Richmond Marathon field (14 November 2009) - Defending champion Jynocel Basweti of Kenya and 2007's winner Mohamed Awol of Ethiopia are favorites to win the 32nd annual SunTrust Richmond Marathon
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
"She ran alongside me and was like, come on, come on. We can do it, we can do it," a disappointed Radcliffe told reporters.
"Even when the girls took off she kind of waited with me a bit. But that's Derartu, She's always been like that."
Tulu support fails to push Radcliffe to marathon win
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Feyisa Lilesa, first Ethiopian to win Dublin City Marathon (26 October 2009) - 19-year-old Feyisa Lilesa's marathon debut time was just five seconds outside the course record.
Mengistu victory highlights Ethiopian weekend performances (26 October 2009) - Ethiopian Meseret Mengistu wins the Marsellie-Cassis Half marathon in France; Ethiopia cleansweeped the podium in Morocco's Casablanca Marathon.
Ethiopians to take centre stage in New York, Seoul, and Delhi (30 October 2009) - November 1 is a big day for Ethiopian runners, as they compete in top distance running events across the globe.
- New York:
Keflezighi and Tulu triumph in New York
Paula Radcliffe loses out in New York as Derartu Tulu triumphs
Tulu, Petrova, Daunay Post-Race Press Conference Transcript
Previous coverage: Merga, Mergia, and Kebede lead strong Ethiopian contingent for Delhi Half Marathon (29 October 2009)
Previous coverage: Molla returns to defend Seoul title (30 October 2009)
Other interesting running news:
Foundation Helps Young Ethiopian Women Runners - Girls Gotta Run Foundation provides new shoes for girls in Ethiopia who are training to be runners.
Sub-2:07 marathons reach historic point - Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot runs the 100th sub-2:07 marathon.
The Human Body Is Built for Distance
Monday, October 26, 2009
Interesting happenings in the world of Ethiopian running:
Roba successfully defends in Istanbul (19 October 2009) - Results of the 31st Istanbul Eurasia Marathon. Defending champion Kasime Adilo Roba wins the men's race, while fellow Ethopian Busenesh Urgesa claimed victory in the women's division. Also check out Ethiopians sweep Eurasia Marathon honors
Wins for Ethiopians in road weekend (19 October 2009) – Ethiopian runners had a number of excellent races over the weekend, with wins in Amsterdam, Istanbul, France, Portugal, and South Korea.
Kenyan training camps running into trouble (19 October 2009) - Unlike Ethiopia's stable national club system, Kenya's unregulated training camps have been plagued by problems and threaten to tarnish the country's reputation for producing Olympic athletes.
45 Years Ago Today (21 October 2009) - On October 21, 1964, Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila won his second Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games. Bikila, the first to win two consecutive gold medals in the marathon, set a world record time. Includes video.
A race against climate change in Ethiopia (23 October 2009) - Climate change in Ethiopia is affecting the country's elite athletes. Crop failures and increasing temperatures are proving challenging to runners in Assela.Young runners like Sisay Adugna are not letting this stop them; Adugna says, “The biggest lesson we learn from Haile [Gebrselassie] is that you cannot get anything easily in the world if you want to become a runner.”
Ethiopians in the running for the IAAF gong (23 October 2009) - Ethiopian athletes are again expected to be in the running for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards, with Kenenisa Bekele expected to be a contender for the best male athlete of the year.
Derartu Tulu & Dire Tune to lead Ethiopian Team at 2009 ING New York City Marathon (23 October 2009) – Rundown on Ethiopia's teams for the NYC Marathon.
Kenyans dominate Nairobi marathon (25 October 2009) - Kenyans Moses Kigen and Irene Jerotich won Sunday's seventh Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon in new course records.
Other interesting news:
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Look for Dire Tune and Bezunesh Bekele to lead the charge with their determined type of racing they showed in Boston this year. Tune actually passed out at the finish line of Boston having fought hard to the end and being beat right at the line. As the Ethiopian men yesterday, I have high hopes for this young group which are the future of Ethiopian marathoning. Ethiopian women so far have not fared well in Berlin and the marathon represents one of the last two opportunities to win gold in this final day of competition in Berlin.
Other runners to watch are Kara Goucher of USA, Chunxiu Zhou of China, and Yoka Shibui of Japan.
My picks: 1- Bezunesh Bekele 2- Dire Tune 3- Chunxiu Zhou
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Ethiopian coach (Shambel Zelalem Desta, whom I met briefly in January 2007) says this year’s team, both men and women, is Ethiopia’s strongest ever and is talking of medal sweeps in both races. In my brief meeting of Shambel Zelalem, the man seemed completely normal but talk of medal sweep in any chmpionship marathon is simply insane! Digging a bit deeper into resumes of the five Ethiopians in the men’s race, it is easy to see that only Tsegaye Kebede and Deriba Merga have solid credentials. The other three only show 2-3 races under their belt with a 2:07-2:08 PR range. One must have an extraordinary day to jump from such credential to a World Championship medal. But then again, coach knows his runners best so I will wait to be proven wrong.
As for Deriba and Tsegaye, I give Tsegaye a very good chance of winning the race while Deriba, as always, is hard to prdict and could excel (Boston) or crash (Beijing). Besides, Deriba has already too many races this year and fatigue could be a factor.
Others to watch closely are Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco (he is due to win a race any day now), four time Boston champion Robert Cheruiyot, and my favorite dark horse Eritrean Yared Asmerom.
My picks: 1- Tsegaye Kebede 2- Robert Cheruiyot 3- Daniel Rono
Your picks? Discuss here.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Day 5 started with women’s 5000M qualification. Speculation of Tirunesh possibly competing in the 5000M as well as Mesert Defar’s withdrawal due to illness proved unfounded. The qualifying round for this event is almost unnecessary because 15 out of the 22 women would advance to the final.
All the Ethiopians have comfortably advanced to Saturday’s final. Sentayehu Ejigu looked very good winning the first heat with tired looking Meselech Melkamu also advancing with a third place finish. I am not sure what to expect from Sentayehu in the final. She has had some good races this year but her personal best is from five years ago. Meseret Defar won the second heat kicking strong in the final 100M as if it was the final. Perhaps she was exorcising the demons from the 10000M race, but it was unnecessary expenditure of energy. Genzebe Dibaba also advanced to the finals from the same heat as well as Alemitu Bekele who runs for Turkey (kudos for keeping your name).
In my opinion, this was the low point for Team Ethiopia at the Berlin World Championships so far. The pain felt by the loss of the women 10000M race was enhanced by the outcome of the men’s 5000M race. At the end of the two heats, Kenenisa was the only Ethiopian to advance to Sunday’s final. Bekana Daba finished 6th in the second heat while Ali Abdosh finished 13th in the first heat.
I could not fathom the concept of only one Ethiopian in a global 5000M championship race: USA advanced three runners, Kenya and Morocco had two each, but Ethiopia had only one, as did Spain and Great Britain! This was rectified at the end of day yesterday when Ali Abdosh was reinstated back in the final based on appeal filed. Apparently, Ali was spiked early on in the qualifying race causing him to lose a shoe and fell some 200M back in his attempt to recover his shoe. Big kudos go to Ali for finishing the race and for making the appeal possible. There is a lesson in there for athletes who take a DNF at the slightest unraveling of their race plan.
If the men’s 5000M qualifying was the lowest point so far, men’s 1500M final has to be the highest. Ethiopia did not win this race, and in fact has not ever won this race in any World Championship. Then again, Ethiopia has never won the 5000M in any World Championship either, so winning is not the point here, at least from my perspective. The point is the tactical brilliance and the raw talent Deresse Mekonnen displayed to execute his plan to near perfection. The 1500M is a very tough physical (and mental) race where the slightest mistake in tactic or lapse in concentration could be the difference between a gold medal and fourth place. Deresse’s plan to stay out of trouble for the first three laps, then take the lead at the bell and push like there is no tomorrow was so on target that it delivered him a silver medal while the Kenyan pre-race favorite Kiprop finished fourth.
Now, to be fair, Deresse did not just appear out of nowhere on to the Berlin podium. He is the reigning World Indoor Champion in 1500M. He also won the Dream Mile in Oslo few weeks ago setting a new Ethiopian national record. However, an indoor race is very different from outdoor, and a meet in Oslo is a far cry from a World Championship final race. This time all the big guns were present having done their best preparation to claim the title. And Deresse beat all of them but one. Ethiopia was so written off in the 1500M that Deresse was not even mentioned in IAAF preview of the 1500M race.
Deresse’s performance hints at an untapped potential and possible bright future for Ethiopia in middle distance races. Kenya, Morocco, and Algeria have been there for decades. Is it time Ethiopia claims some territory? Success in middle distance races has been a developing theme for Ethiopian runners this season and Deresse’s race to the silver medal in Berlin may represent a defining moment for Ethiopian athletics- if it is understood by those who call the shots. We can no longer rely on superstars and must branch out and “diversify” to other distances where we see evidence of talent to compete with Kenya at the same level.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Anyway, luckily or unluckily, there was not overwhelming amount of action from Team Ethiopia to write home about.
Men’s 3000M Steeplechase
On day 2 (Sunday), the men’s 3000M Steeplechase qualifying round saw Yacob Jarso and Roba Gary advance to the final which was run on Day 4 (Tuesday). In the finals, status quo was kept with Kenya taking the title and three of the top four places, with Yacob and Roba in 5th and 6th place, respectively. Yacob posted a personal best (by small margin), and Roba also came close to his PB indicating both performed close to their top form. What is notable is the Kenyan winner finished 12 seconds ahead of the Ethiopians- a good 75-80 meter margin. Both Yacob and Roba said they had sufficient endurance to stay with the winner all the way but lacked the hurdling techniques. Yacob went even further to say that he is “now thinking of switching events if the coaches do not help us with [jumping] technique."
Women’s 3000M Steeplechase
On day 3 (Monday), it was the women’s turn for the 3000M Steeplechase. Both Sofia Assefa and Zemzem Ahmed had qualified comfortably from the heats on day 1. Since the 3000M SC is still a relatively young event, there was hope for a good showing for both ladies who had posted good times this season. However, the final in Berlin failed far below expectation as the Ethiopians finished in 10th and 13th place, both more than 10 seconds off their season best time. Unlike the men, lack of technique can not be the culprit for the poor performance. This was one event where Ethiopian Athletics had an opportunity to show progress into a new territory but it simply did not happen.
With the exception of Edmonton in 2001, Ethiopia (well, Haile and Kenenisa) have owned this event since 1993. There was not much doubt that Kenenisa would get his 4th world title to match Haile from the 1990’s. The only question was in what fashion and who would claim the bottom two spots on the podium.
Sure enough Kenenisa won but I was impressed by how Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese pushed the pace all the way to the last lap when Kenenisa simply sprinted by. With Sileshi Sihine out with injury, Kenenisa had to run alone as Abebe Dinkesa dropped out of the race and the World Cross Country Champion Gebre Gebremariam could only finish 10th. Similar to Wude Ayalew in the women’s 10000M, the bright spot for Ethiopia was 20 year old Imane Merga who finished in fourth place. He ran a personal best to go along with the 3000M and 5000M personal best he set earlier this year. But at this time, there is no heir-apparent to Kenenisa, who took over from Haile in 2003.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I am very, very disappointed. For myself personally, I am pleased because this is my first time running this event at the world championships, so I'm happy I got a medal. But I would have been happy if Meseret (Defar) had got the gold. I was expecting her to win. I never saw the Kenyan."
In other events of the day, two of the three entrants in women’s 3000M Steeplechase have advanced to the next round. Sofia Assefa finished third in heat 1 while Zemzem Ahmed won heat 3. Zemzem’s heat was much slower than Sofia’s so she should have plenty energy in the final on Monday.
In men’s 1500M, Deresse Mekonnen posted the fastest qualifying time of all the heats advancing to the second round. Henok Legesse has also made it to the next round while Mekonnen Gebremedhin failed to advance. Deresse worked a bit hard for a first round race but I hope he has enough to continue on. A gold medal from him will go a long way to ease the pain of the loss in the women’s 10000M.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My bet will be on Meseret Defar as she has a score to settle from Beijing last year. A loss of the gold to another country will be a bitter pill for Ethiopians on first day of competition. Any thoughts?
Well, we are a year of time and a continent of a distance removed from that superhuman perofrmance by Tirunesh, but we meet back in Berlin to write another chapter in the history of Track & Field. The 12th IAAF World Chamionships in Athletics have already gotten underway this morning in Berlin and in a short time (1:25PM EDT) the women 10000M final will be contested once again. As hard as it may sound, this time the two time defending champ Tirunesh will not be in the race due to a recent injury. It is not hard to imagine the outcome of the women’s 10000M will set the tone for the rest of competition Team Ethiopia will be participating in for the rest of the week.
Now, speaking of Team Ethiopia, it is no accident that I started the piece by talking about Tirunesh rather than the whole team: the tri-color of Ethiopian athletics stands and falls with the three superstars of Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar. Losing anyone of these three is a huge blow and the results from Berlin will be more indicative of the future of Ethiopian athletics than its current status. Is there anyone waiting in the wings to take the proverbial baton and run with it?
Ethiopian runners are entered in 1500M, 3000M Steeplechase, 5000M, 10000M, and Marathon for both men and women. Given that we have historically had locks on women’s 5000M and Men’s 10000M, what I am looking for this time is noteable performances in the other events, particularly the 1500M and 3000M SC. The revelation of the season so far has been the improved performance of Ethiopians in middle distance races with national records set in men’s 1500M and women’s 800M. Can Deresse Mekonnen and Mekonnen Gebremedhin deliver in the 1500M in a big meet? Will Zemzem Ahmed and Sofia Assefa make a breakthrough in the women 3000M SC?
Surely, there will be other interesting story lines to watch including:
-whether Meselech Melkamu can maintain her early summer form (African 10000M record) and upset the staus quo of Tirunesh and Meseret
-whether Tsegaye Kebede can bring back the gold in men’s marathon
-whether Dire Tune can bring first women’s marathon gold (in a major meet) since Fatuma Roba
One final piece of item to note is how the former Ethiopians Elvan Abeylegesse and Maryam Jamal fare in Berlin. Should they win gold (for Turkey or Bahrain) at the expense of an Ethiopian runner in second place, the discussion of why they switched nationality will certainly be revived.
There was a neat program on the radio in the taxi this morning that talked about the day's events and there were some spontaneous conversations and disappointment that Tirunesh is not running. There is a little bit of excitement but more excitement about the up coming Premier League soccer opening this weekend.
I will try to post when I have good Internet access and if I happen to have electricity.
As for today's event's...
I think the Women's 10,000 will be very interesting. Meseret vs Elvan? Am I over looking Meselech?
Friday, August 07, 2009
There are several tweets there today including the following:
- Gelete Burka of #Ethiopia vs. Maryam Yusuf Jamal Ethiopian-turned-Bahraini in Women's 1500M Preview: http://tinyurl.com/kswcvz
- No respect? Deresse Mekonnen of #Ethiopia, winner in Oslo with new Ethiopian record of 3:48 doesn't even get a mention in the 1500M preview!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Here is my take on Amman. Overall it was a good showing for Ethiopia. Some people stepped up. Most noteable is Genzebe Dibaba who is showing that she is the real thing. Ayele Abshiro also showed guts. Meselech Melkamu lived up to her billing. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam and Habtamu Fikadu did so in a big way. Actually the senior men's team as a whole stepped up in a big way.
How is it that the most disappointing bunch, the senior men, transformed themselves into winners? I think the fact that Kenenisa (the alpha male) was not around turned these guys from submissive types to contenders. With the exception of Dino Sefer and Tadesse Tola all of the runners were in contention into the last lap. It looked like most of these guys thought they could win and so gave it there best.
As for Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam he has to maintain the form he has rediscovered.
The men's team is lead by a retread, Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam who has never showed the incredible fortitude and desire he once teased us with his spectacular 2002 performance in the Junior XC Championship race. That had to be on of the great performances. Quite frankly, over the past few years Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam has been one of the most annoying runners to watch and I was hoping I would never have to see him run again. He has a chance to redeem himself but don't keep your hopes up.
Tariku Bekele is out. Good for him. He did not have much of a chance. Although very talented the self-confidence of a champion has eluded him. That wasn't about to change this year.
I like Tadesse Tola. A guy guy with a big heart. He earned a spot in my heart with his performance in Momabssa.The year of that shameful performance, the year Kenenisa and the rest of the Ethiopians melted in the heat, the year full of EAF excuses. Tadesse Tola was the highest Ethiopian finisher coming in 7th . I think that was his first international race. This kid does not like excuses. I have a feeling he will do good.
The dark horse is Habtamu Fekadu who finished 9th at last year's race. The 9th place finish made him the second Ethiopian finisher behind Kenny. He may well be the top guy on this team.
The women always seem to do a lot better than the men. They also seem to have a lot better depth. Missing Tirunesh will hurt. Gelete Burka choked big time in Beijing. She finished 6th last year's XC and can in the top 3 if she runs a good race. Meselech Melkamu was also a disappointment in Beijing but can place in the top 3 if she has a very good day. They all need luck.
Ethiopian runners are deferential to the pack leader. Maybe the absence of Tirunish and Kenenisa will confuse the pack and there will be a fight for dominance which may produce a star or two. That though could just be a wish. But I am Ethiopian and I can wish.
All in all if the women have a good day they have a chance of winning the team title. But the men are living on a prayer.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Deriba is different. While others were afraid of the heat in Beijing, this guy went for gold and gave it everything. Haile tried to play it safe and avoided the marathon all together instead he gave us a half-hearted 10,000M and looked silly. Gete and Berhane made a mockery of the women's marathon. Deriba is all heart! He may be the breath of fresh air Ethiopian running needs - the un-Haile. A risk taker not afraid to make mistakes. Everyone can’t be and shouldn’t try be like Haile.