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  • Amazing Almaz!

    A new Olympic star has emerged in Ethiopia and it is none other than the amazing Almaz Ayana. The 25-year-old athlete smashed both the World and Olympic records in a spectacular manner to win the 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, clocking 29:17.45 to win the first athletics gold medal of the Games.

    The race was fast from the outset with Kenya’s Alice Aprot Nawowuna setting the early pace, taking the field through 3000m in 8:52 and 5000m in 14:46, indicating a finishing time well inside 30 minutes.

    Almaz soon took over the lead and increased the pace, opening up a gap on world champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba. It soon became clear that she was operating at world record pace, while her pursuers were also on course for huge lifetime bests.

    She eventually crossed the finish line in 29:17.45 to take more than 14 seconds off the world record set by Wang Junxia back in 1993.

    Cheruiyot finished second in a Kenyan record of 29:32.53 while 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba set a lifetime best of 29:42.46 to take bronze.

    "This means everything for me. I never thought that this would happen & I'm so in awe. I'm very happy to get here." Almaz said after the race.

    All three women ran inside the old Olympic 10,000m record.

    Cheruiyot, Kenya's most decorated female athlete, also fell short in the 2012 London Games where she took bronze.

    The 31-year-old Tirunesh, who returned in 2016 from a two-year layoff following the birth of her son, was seeking to become the first woman in Olympic history to win an individual athletics event three times in a row.

    Almaz will now turn her attention to her preferred 5,000m distance, in which she is favorite to win and become only the second woman after Tirunesh to claim gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 in the same Games.

    Source: Thereporterethiopia


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  • Ethiopian runner Almaz Ayana smashes 10,000 world record

    Ethiopian long-distance runner Almaz Ayana has set the world record in the women’s 10,000-meter race, finishing in 29 minutes and 17.45 seconds. In addition to winning the first gold medal for an African team in the 2016 Summer Olympics, Ayana beat the previous record, in place for the last 23 years, by a remarkable 14.46 seconds.

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  • Angry Bekele lashes out at federation after Rio omission

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Triple Olympic gold medal winner Kenenisa Bekele said he was bitterly disappointed to be left out of Ethiopia's team for the Rio Olympics and blamed members of the country's athletics federation he said knew nothing of the sport.

    "I'm deeply disappointed and sad. I have long overcome my Achilles tendon injury and I was ready for the challenge," the 34-year-old told French sports daily L’Equipe on Wednesday.

    Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele during a press conference ahead of the 2016 Virgin Money London MarathonAction Images via Reuters / Peter CziborraLivepic

    The 5,000 and 10,000 metres world record holder was left out of the marathon team having not run enough big races over the past year.

    "The federation set a criteria they knew very well would rule me out," he added.

    "I finished third in the London marathon (in April) when I was far from 100 percent fit. I'd done my preparation in full. Everyone knows that London is the toughest marathon except the people from the federation. There is a group there that know nothing about athletics.

    "According to their criteria I’m only seventh in the selection list. That they did not consider what I have done for Ethiopian athletics is one thing, but the problem is that they have not considered than my performances have been no worse than those who have been selected."

    Bekele won gold in the 10,000 metres at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in Beijing four years later.

    The Ethiopian Athletics Federation have picked 2016 Tokyo marathon winner Feyisa Lilesa and 2015 Boston champion Lelisa Desisa as well as Lemi Berhanu and Tesfaye Abera to run the marathon in Rio.

    Ethiopia's preparation for the Games, which begin on Aug. 5, have been disrupted by concerns over their drug-testing systems, after the IAAF governing body said in March that it was one of five countries that were in "critical care".

    The east African nation, which alongside neighbour Kenya has for many years dominated distance running on the track and roads, subsequently announced that it would carry out doping tests on up to 200 athletes.

    The Ethiopian Athletics Federation last week banned two athletes, Taemo Shumye and Sentayehu Merga, for four years after they tested positive for banned substances.

    The federation said four other athletes remain under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the IAAF for doping.

    (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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  • African Athletics Championship winners by Country

    This weekend, African athletics takes center stage at the 2016 African Athletics Championships in Durban, South Africa. The continental championship brings together athletes from across Africa every two years and dates back to the first edition, in 1979 in Dakar. On this week's Matchpoint Top 5 segment, let's take a look at the top five winners of the championship by country.

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