Ethiopia athletes upbeat about Rio Olympics chances | Africanews – Africanews

by Zelalem

After an eight-month athletics training process, Ethiopia is now set to compete in the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics.

Among Ethiopia’s top athletes training hard for the August games is Tirunesh Dibaba and Gelete Burka, who aim to increase their medal haul at the events.

According their head coach, Hussein Shibo, the athletes are now ready to compete at the games.

We have been helping our athletes to obtain the time needed to attend Rio Olympics.

“We have been preparing for this for almost eight months. We have been helping our athletes to obtain the time needed to attend Rio Olympics. So based on that we have selected athletes on 1st to 4th ranks and made very good preparations. We are ready,”

Despite the absence of the world record and Olympic record holder in both the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres Kenenisa Bekele in the team, athletes seemed well prepared to counter their opponents in various races.

This year’s Olympic Games will present more opportunities for Dibaba, who will be aiming to win her fourth Olympic gold in Rio, and is slated to compete solely for the 10,000 meters, although she is also listed as a reserve for the 5,000 meters.

“Our preparation is going well. We have done all the necessary training and obtained the minimum. Now since the competition is almost due we are perfecting our preparation,” she said.

Middle and long distance runner, Gelete Burka is also amongst this year’s squad that will be representing the team.

Burka will be competing in the 10,000 metres.

“Thank God, I am in a perfect shape, health and fitness compared to last year and I believe I am well prepared for the Olympics. However, I know that many other athletes from various nations also come well prepared and I know I have to be better. Therefore, I think that I will do well in the competitions and achieve something unique for my country and myself,” said Burka.

Ethiopia has a long tradition of producing some of the world’s best long-distance runners – but so does neighbouring Kenya, Ethiopia’s arch-rival on the track.

There is fierce national pride in Ethiopia’s achievements and the rivalry with Kenya’s athletes is expected to continue in the Rio Olympic Games.

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