By Norman Katende
ETHIOPIA has named experienced athletes Genet Yalew and Hunegnaw Mesfin to lead their team to the Africa Cross Country Championships that are due in Kololo on March 16.
One of the dominant forces in long distance running is aiming to end Kenya’s dominance in the continental event, which is in its third edition. Kenya dominated the first two editions.
Mesfin, though beaten by little known Yasin Hassen in the national selections is being looked at for his experience in seeing that the Ethiopia men get the coveted Africa Cross Country gold medal over Kenya and hosts Uganda.
Yalew, who was a silver medallist in the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships junior race in Punta Umbria 2012 and fifth in Bydgoszcz 2012, is set to combine with Hunegnaw Mesfin who is another experienced cross country runner, having competed in four IAAF World Cross Country Championships from 2008-2011.
According to Beatrice Ayikoru, the secretary general of the National Athletics Federation, their rivals look to be solid enough but Team Uganda is also training hard.
“They have been in camp for the last three weeks and the performance committee is doing everything possible to make sure that they are in good shape for the event,” said Ayikoru.
The team also has Hassen Gemechu Ideo, Seboka Niguse and Atalay Yrsaw for the senior men.
Graduating Yalew, who won a silver medal in the junior women category at Punta Umbria last year will lead the women senior team with Ababel Yeshaneh, who finished fourth at last year’s Moscow World Championships 10000m event together with Tadelech Bekele, Konjit Tilahun, Ayatu Abera and Shito Wdesa.
The junior team has basically new names on the international scene with Hagos Gebrehiwot, Muhajr Hayredin, Moges Tiumay, Fantahun Hunegnaw and Hailemariyam Amare, making the junior men team.
The junior women team has Zerfe Limenh as well as Alemitu Haroye, Alemitu Hawi, Shure Demssie, Fonte Tesfay and Melkitu Workneh.