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Bekele ban overturned


OLYMPIC CHAMPION Kenensia Bekele has had his ban from competing internationally lifted by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

Bekele, who won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m at Beijing 2008, was one of 35 top Ethiopian athletes suspended last week for failing to show up for a training camp.

The authorities had set up the mandatory camp as a response to the country’s poor showing at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last August. Ethiopia won just one gold medal whilst neighbours Kenya managed seven.

The Federation wrote in an email last Thursday (January 19) that 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.

However, Dube Jillo, technical director of the National Athletics Federation, revealed today that the issue had been resolved and the athletes had resumed training:

“We have solved the problem, our athletes can run in any competition starting from today. We are working hard now for the Olympic Games. I hope we will succeed.”

Bekele, who dropped out of the 10,000m in Daegu, has struggled with injury problems over the last two years and, according to his Facebook page, he had not turned up for the camp because he was receiving treatment for a knee injury.

The 5,000 and 10,000m world-record holder wrote: “It will take weeks before I return to ordinary training, and some two to three months before I return to competition.”

His agent, Jos Hermens, revealed that the marathoner had been extremely angry about the suspension and had even looked into changing nationality.

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