World and Olympic 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele has been entered to take part in this weekend’s 22nd Jan Meda Cross Country International in Addis Ababa.
The domestic meeting which takes place during a busy weekend for Ethiopia’s running elite with national teams competing in races in Yokohama, Japan and Nairobi, Kenya, is also an Ethiopian qualifying meet for the 33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in St-Etienne/St-Galmier, France (March 19-20’ 2005).
Bekele, the triple-double World Cross Country champion returns to competitive action less than ten days after suffering his second defeat in a month losing to fellow countryman Markos Genetti in the 3000m in Birmingham. He is scheduled to contest the 12km long course race on Saturday (Feb 26).
The 22-year old, who has suffered a dip in form in the last two months after the tragic death of his fiancée Alem Techale the World Youth 1500m champion, needs to finish in the top five of the race to make certain of a place in the Ethiopian team for France.
In a telephone interview his coach and adviser Captain Tolosa Kotu confirmed that the World 5000m and 10,000m record holder has been entered by the Mugher Sports club to take part in this weekend’s race. “We have entered him to run in the Jan Meda race,” he said. “As far as the club is concerned, he will take part.”
In Addis Ababa, 2004 Athlete of the Year will be pushed all the way by Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Sileshi Sihine and double World Cross Country silver medallist Gebregziabher Gebremariam (who is also the Jan Meda defending champion).
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF