Olympic runner suspended for missing camp

Updated: January 20, 2012, 9:04 AM ET
Associated Press

BRUSSELS -- Olympic distance-running great Kenenisa Bekele has been suspended by the Ethiopian federation for not reporting to a training camp in a move that could affect whether he competes at the London Games.

Bekele, winner of the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Beijing Olympics, was among 35 Ethiopian athletes who were originally suspended through the London Games. The group also includes Tirunesh Dibaba, winner of the 5,000 and 10,000 women's titles in Beijing.

Ethiopian Athletics Federation president Bisrat Gashawten Tirfe told The Associated Press on Friday the suspension will be lifted if they report for a future camp.

"They have to come to terms accordingly," she said.

Bekele's agent, Jos Hermens, claimed the federation is just grandstanding after a bad showing at the World Championships in August in Daegu, South Korea.

"Of course, Kenenisa Bekele will be at the Olympics," Hermens said.

In an email obtained by the AP, the federation said Thursday it "has decided any international competition including Dubai Marathon is closed from January 20, 2012 until end of the (Olympic) event on August 2012" for the 35 athletes who did not attend the camp early this month.

The group included Dibaba's husband, Sileshi Sihine, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Tirfe said a suspension was normal because the athletes ignored the federation's request to attend the training. But, when pressed whether they would be allowed into the Olympics if they reported back for training, she answered "yes, of course."


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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