Ethiopia now bans Bekele and Dibaba
Double Olympic champions Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba are among 35 athletes banned by Ethiopian Athletics Federation from taking part in any local and international competitions.
If effected, the ban could see the two, who won the 5,000m and 10,000m titles respectively at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, being locked out from defending their titles at the 2012 London Olympics set to run from July 27 to August 12.
Melkamu also banned
Also banned are the 2009 Berlin World Championships 10,000m silver medallist Meselech Melkamu and the 2009 World Half Marathon bronze medallist Aberu Kebede. Meselech, who is also the 2009 Africa 5000m champion, was the chief guest during the 2011 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya).
A populous athletics website – LetsRun.com – broke the news on Thursday following communication from an Ethiopian journalist after the federation banned the athletes following row over training.
LetsRun.com website said in part: “This morning, LetsRun.com has received a text from Ethiopian journalist Teferi Debebe, whom LetsRun.com met at the 2009 world cross country championships in Amman, stating that he had heard on an Ethiopian radio station that 35 top athletes, including 5,000 and 10,000m double Olympic champions Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba, 2009 World half marathon bronze Aberu Kebede.”
Ethiopian Athletics Federation technical director, Dube Jilo, also reportedly confirmed to international media about the development.
“We have banned 35 athletes, including Bekela and Dibaba from competing in any event,” Jilo said.