Sileshi Sihine of Ethiopia (357) running the 2003 World Cross long race in Lausanne (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Bekele falls to the power of Sihine at the Ethiopian Championships

2002 World Junior 10,000m silver medallist Sileshi Sihine completed a remarkable 5000m and 10,000m senior double at the 23rd Ethiopian Athletics Championships which finished last weekend in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Sihine, who finished second in the Total Great Ethiopian Run last November, destroyed the championships record at both distances beating among others Kenenisa Bekele and Gebre Gebremariam, who had beaten him so decisively at the World Cross Country Championships in Lausanne in March, where he had finished a distant seventh in the men’s long course race.

In the 10,000m final held on the opening day of competition (6 May), Sihine representing the Prison Corrections Club team out-sprinted Gebremariam to take the title in a time of 28:24.80, shaving an impressive 26 seconds off Assefa Mezgebu’s old record mark of 28:46.76, which had stood since 2000.

Then in the final day’s action (10 May 2003), Sihine scratched the previously unblemished season’s image of two-time double World Cross Country champion Kenenisa Bekele, taking the 5000m title in a time of 13:35.30, again slashing nearly 20 seconds off Haylu Mekonnen’s mark of 13:54.82 set in 1999. In doing so Sihine blew away Bekele in the last lap, with the latter who was competing for the Muger club, finishing second in 13:47.25.

Bekele, who was making his first appearance on the track since 2000, was hoping to make a smooth transition from the cross country, having repeated his double 2001 World Cross victories in Lausanne on 30 March, so completing the previously unthinkable feat of a double – double golden triumph.

However, Bekele found Sihine in particularly uncompromising mood, in what turned into a thrilling twelve and a half-lap race. 20 year-old Bekele looked to be moving comfortably as the last lap bell rang , but it was then that Sihin produced the decisive kick which he sustained into the finishing straight.

Bekele is now preparing for his 10,000m clash with four-time World and twice Olympic 10,000m champion Haile Gebreselassie in Hengelo, on 1 June. Sihine and Gebremariam will also be heading to Europe to compete at several meetings, as competition heats up for places in the Ethiopian squad for this summer’s 9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Paris (23-31 August).

In contrast to Bekele, Ethiopia’s other two individual World Cross Country winners in Lausanne showed no sign of slowing down, recording impressive wins in their transiation from the dirt and grass to a formal athletics track. Senior women’s World long course champion Werknesh Kidane clocked a reasonable 32:52.52 to take the 10,000m, with Asha Gigi (33:39.14) and Ejigayehu Dibaba (35:36.81) coming in second and third respectively.

Tirunesh Dibaba, who had spurted away from Kenya’s Peninah Chepchumba to win the women’s junior World title in Lausanne, was equally impressive over 5000m taking the Ethiopian title in 16:01.48, ahead of last year’s double World Junior track champion (3000m and 5000m) Meseret Defar, who was second in 16:17.44,  ahead of Eyerusalem Kuma (16:20.46).

There was success for Defar too, who took the 3000m title in a time of 9:17.90.

There were other records broken during the five-day event, which attracted athletes from all over the country. Banks club member Roman Abera broke the Ethiopian women’s Shot Put record with a throw of 11.60m, which bettered the 11.37m mark held by Debritu Tilahun since May 1997. While another championships record went to Defence Forces athlete Gulte Bekele, also broke the 3000m steeplechase mark by setting a time of 8:40.75.

There were also significant individual performances including triple gold medals for three Banks Club Athletes: Berhane Alemu (800,1500, and 4 x 400m men’s relay); Leaynet Alemu (100, 200, and 4 x 100m women’s relay), and Meskerem Legesse (800, 1500, and 4 x 400m women’s relay). Omedla’s Gezenew Meteku also took two titles, one in the men’s Long Jump and another in the Triple Jump.

Overall, the Banks Club took the Ethiopian Club title, while the Oromia region, birthplace of some of the finest Ethiopian distance runners, won the regional competition for the 7th year in succession.

Elshadai Negash for the IAAF

23rd Ethiopian Athletics Championships Official Results

NB. some results are missing BUT there were no Pole Vault events for men or women.

Athlete  Club Time

Men’s 100m   
1. Tadele Alemu  Defense 10.80
2. Tagay Yetayew  EEPCO 10.83
3. Adem Amda  Defense 10.84

Men’s 200m   
1. Negussie Getchamo  Prisons 21.84
2. Alemayehu Adem  Banks 22.05
3. Uman Usman  Defense 22.12
  
Men’s 400m   
1. Alemayehu Adebo Banks 46.43
2. Habtemariam Ayehu  Banks  46.48
3. Rayo Abate  EEPCO 47.81

Men’s 800m   
1. Berhane Alemu  Banks  1:47.66
2. Gezhagne Alemu  Prisons  1:48.32
3. Ashenafi Haylu  Banks  1:48.34

Men’s 1500m   
1. Berhanu Alemu  Banks  3:47.57
2. Samuel Dado  National  3:47.63
3. Daniel Zegeye  Prisons 3:47.68
  
Men’s 5000m   
1. Sileshi Sihin  Prisons  13:35.30
2. Kenenisa Bekele  Muger  13:47.25
3. Markos Guente  Oromia Police  13:55.70
4. Dejene Berhanu  Prisons  14:01.80

Men’s 10,000m   
1. Sileshi Sihin  Prisons  28:24.80
2. Gebregziabher G/Mariam  Banks  28:45.40
3. Dejene Berhanu  Prisons  28:52.10
4. Assefa Mezbegu Banks  28:54.16

Men’s 3000m steeplechase   
1. Bulti Bekele  Defense 8:40.75
2. Maru Daba  Prisons 8:46.92
3. Tewodros Shiferaw  Omedla  8:50.45

Men’s 110m Hurdles   
1. Ubang Abaya  Defense 15.40
2. Mehari Zerfu  Omedla  15.78
3. Getachew Alemu National 15.85

Men’s 400m Hurdles   
1. Ubang Abaya  Defense  52.41
2. Getachew Aklilu Prisons 54.02
3. Getachew Alemu  Omedla  54.24

Men’s High Jump   
1. Jemal Ahmed  Prisons 1.75m
2. Rahmeto Shehebo  Defense 1.70m
3. Erbelo Tumisa  Defense 1.70m

Men’s Triple Jump   
1. Gezenew Meteku  Omedla 14.86m
2. Berhanu Fekadu  Prisons 14.76m
3. Solomon Benti  Defense  13.42m

Men’s Shot Put   
1. Tsegaye Woldesenbet  Defense 13.20m
2. Sisay Mekonnen  Prisons 12.77m
3. Bekele Gebre Prisons 11.22m

Men’s Discus   
1. Tsegaye Woldesenbet  Defense 36.93m
2. Bekele Gebre Prisons 35.98m
3. Mohammed Ali  Prisons 32.87m

Men’s Hammer   
1. Sisay Mekonnen  Prisons 23.83m
2. Wondwossen Mandefro  Prisons 23.32m
3. Mohammed Ali  Defense 22.78m

Men’s Javelin   
1. Abdella Taddesse Defense  64.74m
2. Anteneh Tameru  Defense 59.95m
3. Diro Tola  Defense 59.94m

Men’s 4x100m Relay   
1. Defense   43.18
2. EEPCO  43.31
3. Oromia Police   43.42

Men’s 4x400m Relay   
1. Banks   3:09.84
2. Prisons   3:11.74
3. Defense   3:14.81

Men’s 20km Walk   
1. Ashenafi Mercha  Prisons 1:36.05
2. Ayele Hitsan  Prisons 1:39.41
3. Getachew Demissie Defense 1:44.45
 

Women’s 100m   
1. Leaynet Alemu  Banks  12.25
2. Atekelt Wubshet  Banks 12.48
3. Mulu Diriba  Prisons 12.67

Women’s 200m   
1. Leaynet Alemu Banks 24.90
2. Atekelt Wubshet  Banks 25.18
3. Rebcca Chenasha  Banks 25.35

Women’s 400m  
1. Netsanet Getu  Prisons 55.10
2. Weyneshet Eka  Banks 55.82
3. Rebcca Chenasha  Banks  55.86

Women’s 800m   
1. Meskerem Legesse  Banks  2:03.40
2. Berhane Eposa  Muger 2:05.25
3. Felegehiwot Shiferaw Prisons  2:05.78

Women’s 1500m   
1. Meseret Legesse Banks  4:13.66
2. Mestawot Taddesse Banks 4:15.68
3. Meselech Melkamu  EEPCO 4:16.02
4. Sintayehu Ejigu  Banks 4:19.12
5. Kutre Dulecha  Prisons 4:19.30
 
Women’s 3000m   
1. Meseret Defar  Banks  9:17.90
2. Etalem Kidane  Omedla  9:22.60
3. Sintayehu Ejigu  Banks  9:25.32

Women’s 5000m   
1. Tirunesh Dibaba  Prisons  16:01.48
2. Meseret Defar  Banks  16:17.44
3. Eyerusalem Kuma  National  16:20.46

Women’s 10,000m   
1. Werkenesh Kidane Banks  32:52.52
2. Asha Gigi Omedla  33:39.14
3. Ejigayehu Dibaba  Oromia Police  33:56.81

Women’s 100m Hurdles   
1. Netsanet Bekele  Banks 16.01
2. Aynalem Demissie  Banks 17.95
3. Abaynesh Yeshewasew Prisons 18.00
  
Women’s 400m Hurdles   
1. Fekerte Dagne  Prisons 1:01.50
2. Tadelech Erwero  Banks  1:01.55
3. Sisay Mokeru  Banks  1:05.45

Women’s High Jump   
1. Haymanot Bekele  Prisons 1.46m
2. Hargewoin Mengistu Banks  1.44m
3. Mekdes Taddesse Prisons  1.40m

Women’s Long Jump   
1. Emebet Tilahun  Banks 5.33m
2. Tadelech Erwero  Banks 5.30m
3. Weyneshet Eka  Banks 4.99m

Women’s Triple Jump   
1. Tadelech Erwero  Banks  11.56m
2. Emebet Tilahun  Banks 11.33m
3. Weyneshet Eka  Banks 10.89m
  
Women’s Discus   
1. Meseret Gebregziabher  Banks  33.36m
2. Alemitu Lorenzo  Omedla  31.86m
3. Debritu Tilahun  Banks  31.50m

Women’s Javelin   
1. Aynalem Tekabe  Banks  42.12m
2. Abaynesh Sisay  Banks  39.46m
3. Tadelech Regassa  Prisons 36.79m

Women’s 4x100m Relay  
1. Banks Club  48.36
2. Prisons   48.68
3. EEPCO  52.40
 
Women’s 4x400m Relay   
1. Banks   3:48.36
2. Omedla   3:53.51
3. Oromia Prisons  3:58.16

Women’s 10000m Walk   
1. Amsale Yacob Prisons 57:09
2. Desu Balcha  Prisons 57:45
3. Hanna Haileselassie  Omedla  1:00.01
  
Women’s 2000m Walk   
1. Netsanet Getu  Prisons 55:10
2. Weyneshet Eka  Banks 55:82
3. Rebcca Chenasha  Banks  55:86