|Weather may decide Bekele's events
New York: Ethiopia’s world cross country champion Kenenisa Bekele and women’s world 3,000 m indoor record holder Berhane Adere may attempt 5,000-10,000 m doubles at the Paris world championships starting Saturday.
The Ethiopian federation has entered the pair for both events for the championships with a final decision likely to be swayed by the hot European weather and the fact that Bekele has focused primarily on the longer event.
“The climate, their wishes, and their fitness level at the time, will all be taken into consideration when the time comes,” head national track coach Wolde-Meskel Kostre said from Addis Ababa on Thursday.
Both athletes’ medal prospects in the two distance events are good, and there have also been suggestions that Bekele may skip the longer race, in which double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie is going for a fifth world title.
The names of four Ethiopian athletes have been entered in each race, as allowed by the International Association of Athletic Federations, with the final three names to be determined in Paris.
The first three athletes to make the men’s distance team on the basis of season best times, the Ethiopian federation’s primary selection criterion, were Bekele, Gebrselassie and national champion Sileshi Sihine in the 10,000 m.
Their fast one-two-three finish in Hengelo on June 1 proved to be crucial while world cross country bronze medallist Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam, who had also hoped to assure his Paris berth in the event, was fourth.
After Bekele and Gebrselassie’s sub-13 minute timings this season, the top three on the Ethiopian men’s 5,000 m list are Gebremariam, Abiyot Abate and former world indoor two mile record holder Hailu Mekonnen.
The women’s 10,000 m team for Paris is led by double Olympic champion Derartu Tulu, whose status as the defending world champion grants her automatic entry and an additional slot at the 2003 championships.