Bekele Fires Away at IAAF

Story written by EPelle

Kenenisa Bekele, who on Saturday displayed one of the most specatacular winning performances of his career at the Event Scotland Great Edinburgh International Cross Country 9,3km race, is at odds with the IAAF, stating he is receiving unfair treatment from the international federation due to being African.

Bekele, who was selected IAAF World Athlete-of-the-Year in 2004 and again in 2005, received no compensation for winning the international prize. However, neither did Yelena Isinbayeva, the women's winner those same two seasons.

"That cannot be right," said Bekele (source), "did they treat me differently because I am an African?"

The argument stems over Asafa Powell and Sanya Richards having both winning $100.000 for their selections this past year - a new style nomination system the IAAF has put into place to award the top athletes in the world.

"I am adamant that I will not be going to Mombassa," said Bekele following his victory Saturday.
Bekele's exclusion is thought to draw a marketing blow to the IAAF, as the 10-time world cross country champion has decideded against contending for an 11th title, and has warded off rumours that he will be pressured by Ethiopia's Athletics federation to run, nonetheless.

"That is not true, I have spoken with them and they accept my decision," said Bekele, stressing his non-appearance has nothing to do with his belief the IAAF have treated him unfairly, nor an acting out against the location of the meet - in arch-rival Kenya's backyard.

Bekele's adamant stance toward the championship event could be a blow to the IAAF, as Kenyan Mike Kigen, who was fifth in the 2006 IAAF Championships event in Japan, will not compete in Mombasa due to an injury, and Isaac Songok, the reigning 4km silver medallist, and Augustine Choge have quit cross country running all together.

However, The Herald (source), quotes Bekele playing a different tune.

"If there is something special, I may run," he said. "If there's a special challenge, specially for the world champion man. I won many years, the world cross. It's the same every time, and there's nothing special.

"Maybe the organisation, the IAAF, they should put something special for the world champion man. Some special prize money? Yes. If I lose this race, for me it is a big thing.

"They could pay a performance bonus for me to run. Maybe it's possible for them. If they encourage sport, or something. Every time you run, nothing is achieved."

Bekele started his amazing run at cross country stardom was borne in 2001 - his final year as junior athlete, when he completed an astonishing double at 2001 World Cross Country Championships, finishing 2nd in the elite men's short-course (4km) race to Kenyan Enock Koech on the first day, and returning the following day to add an overwhelming 33 second victory in the junior race.

The following year, Bekele went on to win both the long course race and the short course events - becoming the first man to ever win both events, and has never looked back, winning both events again in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, for a whopping 10-straight indivudal titles to go along with his junior title.

Bekele's first global track gold came at the front of an intimidating Ethiopian sweep in the 2003 IAAF World Championships 10.000m in Paris, where Bekele broke the field with a 12.57,24 final 5.000m for a 26.49,57 championship record.

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