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Tulu and Wami skipping Dublin; Gebrselassie off to Lisbon

Tulu and Wami skipping Dublin; Gebrselassie off to Lisbon
Sabrina Yohannes for the IAAF

18 March 2002 - Paula Radcliffe’s weekend is shaping up to be pretty good. In her bid to retain her long course world cross country title, the Briton will face neither her 2001 runner-up Gete Wami, nor the 2000 champion Derartu Tulu. The two Ethiopian women, who between them have won six world cross titles, will not be in Dublin.

Like last year, Olympic champion Tulu’s focus for the first part of the year has been the London marathon, which gave her her first victory over the distance last spring (and will be the site of Radcliffe’s marathon debut April 14). The 2001 4km World Cross champion Wami did not run during the winter due to a knee injury, said Ethiopian Athletic Federation head coach Wolde Meskel Kostre. “She hasn’t gone back to training,” said her manager, Jos Hermens. Both women skipped the Ethiopian cross country championships at Jan Meda in Addis Ababa last month.

Although he did compete and win at Jan Meda, double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie, who is also preparing for the London marathon, didn’t have Dublin in his sights either. “He ran for the competition experience,” said Kostre. Along with countrymen and fellow London entrants Tesfaye Jifar and Tesfaye Tola, Gebrselassie is running the Lisbon half-marathon on Sunday. “He’s in good shape,” said Hermens, who is Gebrselassie’s manager as well.

Headed by Sydney bronze-medallist Assefa Mezgebu, who lost the 2000 world cross title by one second, the Dublin men’s long course team includes 1992 Olympic bronze medallist Fita Bayissa, a veteran of global championships since 1990.

Reigning world junior champion and 4K runner-up Kenenisa Bekele, who won the national short race last month and aims to double at the worlds, is one of several notable names on the short course team, which includes Olympic champion Million Wolde and Hailu Mekonnen. “The 4km group is a tough one,” said Kostre, mentioning Mohammed Awol and Abiyot Abate in addition.

After running his first cross country race in December and winning it, newcomer Gebregziabher Gebremariam took the junior men’s race at Jan Meda and heads that team. Edmonton bronze-medallist Ayelech Worku is on the women’s long course team, along with 2001 national champion Leila Aman. Jan Meda winners Workinesh Kidane, the 1999 world junior champion, and Tulu’s in-law Tirunesh Dibaba head the women’s short course and junior teams respectively.

Ethiopian World Cross Country Championships Team
Senior Men’s Long Course:
Assefa Mezgebu
Mesfin Hailu
Habte Jifar
Lemma Alemayehu
Ketema Negussie
Fita Bayissa

Senior Men’s Short Course:
Kenenisa Bekele
Abiyot Abate
Hailu Mekonnen
Mohammed Awol
Berhanu Addane
Million Wolde

Junior Men:
Gebregziabher Gebremariam
Abebe Dinka
Girma Assefa
Tessema Abshir
Sileshi Sihen
Bisir Abdella

Senior Women’s Long Course:
Leila Aman
Eyerusalem Kuma
Teyiba Erkesso
Ayelech Worku
Merima Denboba
Atalelech Ketema

Senior Women’s Short Course:
Workinesh Kidane
Amina Godana
Abebech Negussie
Merima Hashim
Genet Gebregiorgis
Sinkinesh Gudeta

Junior Women:
Tirunesh Dibaba
Bizunesh Bekele
Mestawat Tufa
Meseret Defar
Yenealem Ayanu
Diribe Alemu