The country’s athletics governing body disclosed the names of athletes who will represent Ethiopia in the coming 2016 Rio Olympics that is schedule to start on 5 August.
Accordingly, Lemi Birhanu, Tesfaye Abera, Feyisa Lelisa and Lelisa Disasa are men’s marathon representatives while Mare Dibaba, Tigist Tufa, Tirfi Tsegaye and Aberu Kebede take part in the women’s event.
In men’s 10,000m Yigerem Demmelash, Tamirat Tola, Abud Hadis and Ibrahim Jeilan while in women’s Almaz Ayana, Gelete Burka , Tirunesh Dibaba and Netsanet Gudeta , in men’s 5,000m Muktar Idris, Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebrehiwot and Abudi Hadis while in women’s Almaz Ayana, Senbere Teferi, Abable Yeneneh and Triunesh Dibaba, in women’s 1,500m Genzebe Dibaba Dawit Seyoum, Besu Sado and Gudaf Tsegaye do represent the country in Rio.
Ethiopia will also take part in men’s and women’s 3,000m, 800m and in women’s 20km walk. Yehalaye Beletew is the sole 20 km woman representative of the country.
Major absentees are the three time Olympic gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele and the two time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar. Their absences is expected to have some impacts on the squad.
The Ethiopian Olympic Committee (EOC) earlier announced that the country expects to collect a record 12 medals; four gold, four silver and four bronze medals, in Rio de Janeiro. So far the country’s record is eight medals: four gold, three silver and one bronze medals collected in Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The four gold medals in Sydney were earned through Million Wolde in 5,000m, Haile Gebre-Selassie in 10,000m, Gezahegn Abera in men’s marathon and Derartu Tulu in women’s 10,000m. For Deratu and Haile the win in Sydney was their second gold.
Haile got his first gold medal in 10,000m in Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Derartu got her first in Barcelona in 1992.
Derartu was the first Ethiopian woman in the country’s athletics history to get medal in the Olympics. It can be said that was an eye breaker for Ethiopian women’s in the Olympics. The other thing that the Barcelona Olympics declared at the time was the coming of a new era in the country’s Olympic history.
Until Barcelona the Country used to collect medals through the men’s events. All through the medal table was fully dominated by the male gender until Barcelona in which the lone gold was registered by the Ethiopian heroine Derartu.
Four years later in Atlanta Ethiopia got two gold medals through Haile Gebre-Selassie in men’s 10,000m and Fatuma Roba in women’s marathon. This shows that the men’s and women’s shared the gold medals table.
In Sydney in 2000 the picture was a bit different. The Ethiopian heroes Gezahegn, Haile and Million brought three gold medals vis-à-vis Derartu’s one gold. This sounds as a comeback move for the male gender.
In Athens Olympics Ethiopia got two gold medals through Kenenisa Bekele in 10,000m and Meseret Defar in 5,000m. In Beijing both Kenenisa and Tirunesh Dibaba earn double to make four gold medals winning in 10,000m and 5,000m. This shows Ethiopian men’s and women’s contributed equal energy for the country’s four gold medals earning.
The London Olympics was totally different. In London the female gender fully dominated the field. Ethiopia got all the three gold medals through her heroines: Tigi Gelana in marathon, Tirunesh Dibaba in 10,000m and Meseret Defar in 5,000m got the three gold. .
Will the Ethiopian heroines keep this rich tradition in Rio? Though difficult to predict results in advance with certainty, still the national athletics fans expect more medals from the heroines. Almaz Ayana in 5,000m, Tirunesh Dibaba in 10,000m, Genzebe Dibaba in 1,500m are the hopefuls to get gold in Rio.
In the men’s event athletes like Muktar Idris are good but not consistent. Due to this the fans have more faith in the consistent females rather than the inconsistent ones. One of the hopeful in 5,000m Yomif Kejelcha was dropped from the squad.
In marathon the athletics fans have confidence in the women’s representative Mare Dibaba. As the name suggests Mare is not the member of the Dibaba family.