A strong comeback performance by 2007 World Youth 3000m Steeplechase champion Legesse Lemiso was the highlight of the 2009 Ethiopian Short and Middle Distance Championships (9-11 January 2009), an annual three-day event among club athletes held at the Addis Ababa stadium.
The event, which also doubles as a selection meet for inclusion in Ethiopia's national team, does not often attract the country's world class athletes, but is the perfect chance for the country's up and coming runners to put their case forward ahead of the track season in Ethiopia.
This year's event served as the perfect chance for youngster Legesse Lemiso to launch his comeback after a largely unsuccessful 2008 season blighted by injury.
After his surprise victory in Ostrava eighteen months ago, Lemiso was tipped to step up a level in 2008, but he failed to even qualify for the Ethiopia's team for the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
But yesterday (11) in bright sunshine at the Addis Ababa stadium, Lemiso was very much in control throughout a ridiculously-slow contest before kicking at the bell to take victory in 8:54.85, nearly a second ahead of Amha Woldetsadik.
In the corresponding women's Steeplechase race, All-African Games silver medallist Netsanet Achamo took advantage of the absence of African champion Zemzem Ahmed, who was competing in the Elgoibar cross country, and Mekdes Bekele, who decided to give these championships a miss, to take a six-second victory over Bertukan Fente. Tsehaynesh Tsale came home in third.
The race of the championships was the men's 1500m that saw Abiyot Endale emerge as the winner in 3:45.34 ahead of Tariku Mengistu and Yehualashet Tadesse.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
800m: 1. Mohammed Aman (1:47.75), 2. Sheferaw Wole (1:48.49), 3. Fekadu Dejene (1:51.09)
1500m: 1. Abiyot Endale (3:45.34), 2. Tariku Mengistu (3:45.75), 3. Yehualashet Tadesse (3:46.05)
3000m SC: 1. Legesse Lemiso (8:54.85), 2. Amha Woldetsadik (8:55.48), 3. Hussein Seif (8:56.24)
800m: 1. Abeba Aregawi (2:10.46), 2. Zenebech Alano (2:11.10), 3. Feyne Gudeta (2:12.00)
1500m: 1. Shito Wincha (4:22.15), 2. Merima Mohammed (4:25.24), 3. Tezeta Bogale (4:26.29)
3000m SC: 1. Netsanet Achamo (10:22.85), 2. Bertukan Fente (10:28.57), 3. Tsehaynesh Tsale (10:39.73)