Kenenisa Bekele “dismayed” by Jos Hermens’ comments about his professionalism after Berlin Marathon, vows to break world record
September 24, 2017
“How can one question the professionalism of an athlete that has the second fastest marathon time ever and is still a world record holder in the 10k and 5k to this day?”
By Elias Meseret
October 2, 2017
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s long distance running great Kenenisa Bekele said he was “dismayed” over comments his manager of 15 years, Jos Hermens, made to LetsRun.com after Bekele dropped out of the Berlin Marathon on September 24. Speaking from his hotel lobby in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Saturday, the 35-year-old said his manager should have kept the issues between themselves.
“With those remarks, Jos Hermens acted like someone who lost a gamble. But what can you do? This is sport…you win one day and lose the other,” Bekele said, specifically referring to comments that his manager made regarding the athlete’s professionalism when it comes to his marathon training. “How can one question the professionalism of an athlete that has the second fastest marathon time ever and is still a world record holder in the 10k and 5k to this day?”
The athlete attributed his disappointing result to the “rainy and cold” weather conditions in Berlin and said the poor performance was a surprise to himself. But again he advocated it did not warrant a “rant” from his manager.
“He (Jos Hermens) told me before the race that Berlin will be my last chance to break the marathon record, and I strongly disagreed with him. He always tells me I should break the record now or will never be able to do it. This has put a lot of unwanted stress and pressure on me before the race,” Bekele acknowledged, adding that there were some “issues” that he had with his manager that he wanted to resolve before the Berlin race that were never addressed. “Besides, I know he [has] no idea about Eliud Kipchoge‘s training schedules, but he always asks for mine. I always ask him why? I never shared with him my schedule so, maybe, he was angry with that.”
Bekele said he believes he still has what it takes to break the marathon world record.
“I definitely will break it before my retirement. For all the skeptics, I will show them with my hard work,” Bekele said, waving his hands with confidence. “I want to seize my future. And I don’t want anyone to get into my way of proving myself.”
Bekele, however, confirmed that he hasn’t ended his relationship with Hermens and will decide about it in the future.
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Elias Meseret is a journalist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His work has previously been published by the Associated Press.