Ethiopian Running Legend Kenenisa Bekele Returns to the Olympics After 12 Years

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Ethiopian long-distance running icon Kenenisa Bekele is set to make a remarkable return to the Olympic stage, having been named in Ethiopia’s ten-member marathon team for the Paris 2024 Games. This announcement comes 12 years after his last Olympic appearance at the London 2012 Games, where he finished fourth in the men’s 10,000m event. Bekele, now 41, was overlooked for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics but has earned his spot once again following a stunning performance at the London Marathon in April.

Bekele's selection is a testament to his enduring talent and resilience. He secured his place on the team with a remarkable second-place finish at the London Marathon, finishing behind Kenya's Alexander Mutiso Munyao. The two runners broke clear in the final 10km, showcasing Bekele’s enduring speed and strategic racing acumen. His last marathon victory dates back to the Berlin Marathon in 2019, where he set an Ethiopian record of 2:01:41, a time bettered only by Eliud Kipchoge and the late Kelvin Kiptum.

With a storied career that includes three Olympic golds, five world titles on the track, and 11 wins at the World Cross Country Championships, Bekele is hailed as one of the greatest long-distance runners in history. His return to the Olympics is eagerly anticipated by fans and fellow athletes alike.

Ethiopian Marathon Team for Paris 2024

Bekele leads a formidable Ethiopian marathon team, which includes top runners in both the men’s and women’s categories.

Men’s Team:

  • Kenenisa Bekele: 2nd place finish at the April London Marathon.
  • Sisay Lemma: Boston Marathon champion.
  • Deresa Geleta: Seville Marathon champion.

Women’s Team:

  • Tigist Assefa: World record holder
  • Amane Beriso: World champion.
  • Megertu Alemu: 4th at the London Marathon.

The team selection also included reserves, highlighting the depth of talent in Ethiopian distance running. For the men, Tamirat Tola, who set a course record at the New York City Marathon last November, and Mohamed Esa, the Boston runner-up, were named as reserves. On the women’s side, Gotytom Gebreslase, the 2022 world champion, and Buze Diriba, who finished 4th at the Boston Marathon, are the reserves.

Bekele’s return to the Olympics is a testament to his dedication and exceptional talent, promising an exciting marathon race in Paris. His journey from the tracks of London 2012 to the streets of Paris 2024 is a story of perseverance and excellence, inspiring athletes worldwide.

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