Bekele out of African Championships

Olympic champions pulls out for unspecified reasons.

    Kenenisa Bekele, right, will not run for Ethiopia
    [GALLO/GETTY]

    Olympic 10,000-metre champion Kenenisa Bekele pulled out of the African Athletics Championships for unspecified reasons.

    The world record holder from Ethiopia said he would not run at the championships, but would not explain why.

    "I will not run it,'' Bekele said. "It's very difficult.''

    Bekele's withdrawal from Wednesday's 10,000 is not expected to affect his chances of running at this year's Beijing Olympics.

    Haile Gebrselassie, the former world record holder and two-time Olympic champion in the 10,000, was not named to Ethiopia's team for the event.

    But Gebrselassie is still hoping to run the 10,000 in Beijing after pulling out of the Olympic marathon.

    Despite the absence of the country's two biggest stars, Ethiopia can still sweep the 10,000 with junior champion Ibrahim Jeylan, national champion Eshetu Wondimu and Gebregziabher Gebremariam in the race.

    Kenyan runners John Korir, Bernard Sang and Julius Kiptoo are also entered, while Tanzania will be represented by Samuel Kwang and Ezekiel Jafari.

    The championships feature more than 800 competitors from 41 African nations.

    Ethiopia, with 140 athletes, has the most participants, including Olympic 5,000 champion Meseret Defar and rival Tirunesh Dibaba.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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