25 Jan 2012

Ethiopia lifts ban on athletes

6:44 am on 25 January 2012

Ethiopia has lifted its suspension of 35 athletes, including double Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele, after imposing a ban last week in a row over a training camp.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation imposed the measure last Friday after Bekele, Olympic women's 5,000 and 10,000 metres gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba and others failed to turn up for preparations ahead of major championships this year, including the London Olympics.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation lifted the ban last night after a meeting in which the athletes apologised and explained that they missed the gathering due to injury or engagements elsewhere in the world.

Olympic men's 5,000 and 10,000 champion Bekele, who has yet to decide if he will compete in London, said last week it would take him weeks before he returns to training and two to three months before competing again.

Ethiopia, once dominant over long-distance track events, has struggled with flagging results over the past few years with injury and age catching up with its track stars.