ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele won’t compete at next month’s Olympics, perhaps the distance running great’s last chance at the games, after he was left off Ethiopia’s final team for failing to meet the country’s qualifying criteria in both the marathon and the 10,000 meters.
Bekele, the world-record holder in the 5,000 and 10,000, had appealed his exclusion in the marathon but the Ethiopian Athletics Federation released its final list for the Rio de Janeiro Games over the weekend, confirming Bekele’s absence.
Bekele was first denied a place in the marathon when the federation said he hadn’t run enough big races over the last year to meet the selection criteria, which have been criticized by Bekele.
Bekele then made a late attempt to get on the team in the 10,000. He failed to finish the race at a trials event in Hengelo, Netherlands, last month.
Almaz Ayana, Ethiopia’s rising star, was selected to run in the women’s 5,000 and 10,000 in Rio. She’ll come up against compatriot and double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba in the 10,000. Dibaba was only named as a reserve for the 5,000, an event in which she is a former Olympic champion, two-time world champion and the world-record holder.