ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s haul of eight track medals with just one gold at the Rio Olympics was not satisfactory, according to legendary distance runner Haile Gebreselassie, who blamed the under-par performance on the country’s athletics federation.
“Now the current administration is saying the results are not bad, they’re encouraging. That’s not acceptable,” Gebreselassie said on Thursday (Aug 25).
“I say this is discouraging! It’s like if someone ignores his disease. If he doesn’t accept his disease it could kill him.”
The 43-year-old Gebreselassie won gold in the 10,000m at both the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics and said he would be willing to share his expertise.
“As a veteran of course I want to share my experience. As a coach, why not. As an adviser, why not,” he said. “I just don’t want to see defeat, I don’t want to see us lose a race.”
Ethiopia claimed eight medals (one gold, two silver and five bronze) in the recently-concluded summer Olympics in Brazil.
The sole gold was won by Almaz Ayana, who produced a new world record to win the women’s 10,000m.
Ethiopia were outclassed by traditional east African rivals Kenya who won six gold medals in a haul of 13.
Gebreselassie insisted that Ethiopia had to change the federation’s executive committee, with next year’s world championships in London the perfect launchpad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“In a week’s time, the executive committee has to call a general assembly. They have to leave, the representatives of the executive committee (of the athletics federation). If not the results will be just the same as what we had in Rio,” he said.
“Rio is over, in four years it’s going to be Tokyo. We have to be ready for Tokyo and not wait one year before to be prepared.”
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