It's always difficult to select Kenyan and ethiopian athletes for Olympics.
Because always there is some political pressure, these Countries normally prefer not to give clear and transparent criteria.
One of the problems is that it's not possible to have any selection in one race head to head. We speak about athletes having appearance fees for starting between 100.000 and 400.000 USD, and it's not possible to organize a race for selecting the best. For example, the idea to have Kenyan trials in Kenya in February for free could be a good technical choice, but clearly impossible to follow, since nobody in Kenya prefers to run a race of selection for free in altitude, risking to stay out of the team, refusing to have 300,000 USD of appearance fee for running London.
I had infos from some Ethiopian coach that Ethiopian Federation gave a strange system of points, giving some point to the Major, less points to other marathons (fo example Dubai or Hamburg). Other versions were they looked for the best times, like in the past. The fact two versions existed clearly shows that the criteria were not clear, and the confusion was at the base of the final selection.
Technically speaking, two athletes were the top in the beginning of the season : Tesfaye Abera, winning both marathon in Dubai (22 Jan) with 2:04:24, and in Hamburg (17 Apr) with 2:06:58, and Hayle Lemi Berhanu, second in Dubai with 2:04:33 and winner of Boston (18 Apr) in 2:12:45.
These two athletes are very strong, and have two of the best coaches in Ethiopia : Getaneh Tessema (Abera) and Gemedu Degefo (Lemi).
However, Olympics will be their third seasonal marathon, and, for personal experience, to prepare Olympics at 100% of shape after running 2 fast marathon in the last 8 months is very difficult (in the past, all the athletes running Dubai and then another marathon in spring who went to WCh or Olympics never wereable to compete well).
But to chose Feysa Lilesa as number 3, compared with Kenenisa, is of sure the demonstration that Ethiopian selectors look at beaurocracy and administrative rules instead at technical reasons.
Lilesa has a PB of 2:04:52 when won Chicago in 2012, 4 years ago. His second best performance is 2:05:23 when was 4th in Rotterdam 6 years ago. His results in the last two years are nothing of special : 2:06:35 in Dubai in 2015 (4th position) and 2:06:57 in Berlin, always in 2015 (3rd position), in very fast mrathon. This year he won Tokyo in 2:06:56, and this clearly shows that he is a consistant runner in the area 2:06 - 2:07.
But is Ethiopia wants to win Olympics, doesn't need a consistant runner around 2:06 - 2:07, but a real "crack" who can fight with Eliud Kipchoge and Stanley Biwott. The only athlete with this ability is Kenenisa.
I know exactly what he did in training before London : there is no athlete in the World (included Kipchoge) who can run 2:06:36 with so little training, and in the way he did, witn the first 30 km in 1:27:25 at the pace of WR.
A Kenenisa more tranquil,with a split of 1:28:30 at 30 km, already had the possibility to run well under 2:05 in London, smething all the other Ethiopian could not do. It's not crazy to think Kenenisa, with the full preparation without big injuries till Rio, could be the ONLY athlete able to challenge Kipchoge for Gold.
Th fact is Ethiopian Federation never had any technical analysis while selecting teams for Olympics, also in the past. I remember when, in 2012, they selected Dino Sefir (at that time working with my programmes) because he ran in Dubai 2:04:50, also if myself told to the Federation he was not ready and Dubai gave 2-3 minutes of advantage compared with London, and the London winner, Tsegaye Kebede (at that time of of the most competitive runners in tough marathons), had to watch Olympics in TV (everybody knows what the Ethiopian athletes did : no one finished the race !