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“I could not compete against four factors” Kenenisa Bekele  

The following press release was released by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation on March 27, 2007.

After dropping out of the senior men’s 12km race at the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Ethiopia’s five-time double champion Kenenisa Bekele has released the following statement through the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF).

“Even before I started the race, I was completely shocked to see some of our junior women runners drop out or collapse at the finish line. I knew that it was going to be a bad race.”  

“I was preparing for my race when I saw Emebet Etea running backwards. Soon afterwards, I also witnessed the junior men collapsing. I did not start my race in a relaxed manner as I usually do.”  

“The course of the race was not suited to my liking. There was some sand and it prevented me from gliding over the turf as I was used to. My spikes could not handle the course. It was very difficult competing against four factors- the sand, the asphalt, the weather, and of course, the world class challengers.”  

“I felt dehydrated for much of the race. At times, I just wanted to stop, take some liquid, and carry on.”

“I was very difficult. I have never run a race in such difficult conditions ever before in my life. But I tried all I can. I gave it all I could. I did not want to collapse and have people pick up. I made the decision to drop out.”  

“I thought I was OK when I dropped out, but from what people tell me, I was not conscious when I stopped running. I do not what might have happened if I had continued to run.”  

About his momentary spurt in the middle of the race

“I miscalculated the laps and thought that I had reached the finish when I strode clear. I used all the little reserve energy I had in my body to do that.”  

About the winner Zeresenay Tadesse

“I would like to say congratulations to him. He is a strong runner. I beat him for the last three years, but well done to him for coming back and handling the conditions. Congratulations!"

About his feeling now

“At first, I did not want to believe that I had dropped out and was not capable of finishing the race. But I am not too upset now. I tried all I can.”  

Last words…

“I would like to thank all Kenyans who lined up the course and supported me throughout the race. I am also grateful to all my team-mates and members of the Ethiopian team who comforted me after the race and Ethiopians living in Kenya who gave me a lot of morale support. I want to tell everyone that I am OK now and recovering well from the effects of Saturday’s race."

This press release is produced by the Public Relations Department of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) on behalf of national team athlete Kenenisa Bekele. Please address all inquiries to the following address only:  

Elshadai Negash

Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) Public Relations Department

Tel: 251-11-5509816, 251-11-5544560 (direct line)

Fax: 251-11-5514073, 251-115513345

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