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Kenenisa Bekele's exclusion has unearthed athletes' general discontent with the federation

Ethiopian running great Kenenisa Bekele has railed against his "unfair" exclusion from the country's marathon team for the Rio Olympics, adding to the growing discontent at the athletics federation's management. The 34-year-old Bekele, a triple Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion over 5,000 and 10,000m, had been hoping to revive his Olympic career in August over the longer distance.

 

He won his first outing over the marathon in Paris in 2014, but suffered an Achilles injury that put paid to the 2015 season. After that long lay-off, Bekele made his comeback with a third-placed finish in this year's London marathon after just six weeks training. But it was not enough to sway selectors, who instead picked Tesfaye Abera, Lemi Berhanu and Feyisa Lilesa for the men's team.

 

"This is not fair," stormed Bekele, also the most successful cross-country runner of all time with six long-course and five short-course titles between 2002 and 2008. "The rules were never announced. They took the marathon times from the last two years back but they didn't let the athletes know of this rule." The president of the Ethiopian athletics federation said Bekele had simply not ticked enough boxes despite his vaunted past.

 

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