Bekele, Defar and Dibaba named in team for London Olympics
SPORTS By By Chris Musumba and Agencies | July 12th 2012
Double Olympic Champion Kenenisa Bekele is named in a strong 40-member squad announced by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation for the London Olympic Games.
The Olympic 10,000m and 5,000m champion will primarily take part in the 25-lap race. However, Bekele, will also be on the standby for possible replacement in 5,000m distance where he is named as a reserve.
Ethiopian team of 40 for London Olympic Games was confirmed Monday with 17 men and 16 women. The Ethiopian Athletics Federation announced the squad, which also has an additional seven reserve athletes.
Ethiopia has had several trials for the 5,000m and 10,000m. The federation said 2012’s athletes selection criteria was very transparent and all efforts were made to select the best athletes in each discipline.
Double Olympic champion in women Tirunesh Dibaba, is also expected to compete in both the 5,000 and 10,000m distances. Dibaba has been named in both events, though she is on the reserve bench for 5,000m race led by Athens Games champ Meseret Defer.
Controversy in squad
However, controversy is shrouding Ethiopian team after it named Abeba Aregawi in its squad for the 1,500m race. Aregawi is being sort by Sweden to compete for the Scandinavian country at the Olympics after she asked in 2009 to change her citizenship.
Aregawi, who won the 1,500 meter Diamond League in Rome last month, is yet to compete for Ethiopia at the world stage and Sweden, who have given her citizenship are keen to have them represent them in London.
Already Swedish government filed a suit to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) claiming Abeba has been granted Swedish citizenship and that she should not represent her homeland for the coming London Olympics.
Recently Abeba won the Diamond League followed by Genzebe Dibaba in Rome representing Ethiopia and is expected to secure gold in the London Olympics.
However, following her remarkable achievement in the Diamond League, the Swedish Government granted her the citizenship on June 8, after reviewing the application she submitted back in 2009.
The Swedish government, moreover, wrote a letter to IAAF saying that she would represent Sweden for the London Olympics. Currently, Abeba is training alongside the national squad in Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) on its part wrote a letter to IAAF claiming it should disqualify the request made by the Swedish government.
EAF presented argumentative evidence that the Swedish government granted her the citizenship after three years since she had applied for and she had only resident permit till she won the Diamond league.
As she has also been traveling from country to country using Ethiopian passport she said that she is not happy for the citizenship granted by Swedish government that gave her the citizenship after her remarkable championship.
Source also told Ethiopian newspaper The Reporter that she still wants to run for her country in the future.
Ethiopia will also send two swimmers and a boxing team to the London Games.
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