Ethiopian athletes out of Doha meet

Political tensions see Ethiopians withdraw from the Super Grand Prix.

    There will be no Ethiopian presence at the Doha
    Super Grand Prix [AFP]

    Organisers of the Doha Super Grand Prix have announced that Ethiopian athletes pulled out of the meet because of political tension between the two countries.

    "We had prepared everything for them: the visa, the tickets and everything,'' said Dahlan Al-Hamad, the president of the Qatar athletics federation.

    "Unfortunately politics got into sports.''

    Last month, Ethiopia broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, saying the energy-rich Gulf state had become a source of instability in the Horn of Africa.

    It cited Qatar's relations with Eritrea, which is involved in a long-standing feud with Ethiopia over their border.

    Qatar said it was astonished by the diplomatic action and denied the accusations that it is hurting Ethiopia's security.

    Seven Ethiopian athlete were on the starting list of Friday's meeting, including indoor world champions Deresse Mekonnen in the 1,500 metres and Tariku Bekele in the 3,000.

    Al-Hamad said the IAAF world athletics federation would look into the matter.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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