July 12, 2007

Ethiopian runners withdraw from Golden Gala

ROME: Nearly all of Ethiopia's long-distance runners were pulled out of Friday's Golden Gala meet by their national federation to compete in the All Africa Games.

"It's a very unpleasant situation. This issue needs to be addressed," meet director Luigi D'Onofrio said Thursday. "The dates of these events should be looked at more carefully in the future."

The meet was counting on another world record attempt by Meseret Defar in the 5,000 meters. She set the mark of 14 minutes, 16.63 seconds at the opening Golden League meet in Oslo, Norway, on June 15.

Tariku Bekele was scheduled to lead the men's 5,000.

D'Onofrio said that Tariku's older brother Kenenisa Bekele was not called up by the Ethiopian federation and therefore will compete in Sheffield, England, on Sunday.

The All Africa Games started Wednesday in Algeria and run until July 23.

Long jumper Irving Saladino has another conflict. He is Panama's flag bearer for the opening ceremony Friday at the Pan American Games.

International Herald Tribune

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