Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

Haile - 'You cannot control the whole world forever.'

Gebrselassie in his second journal entry for the IAAF internet talks about his recent series of track defeats to Kenenisa Bekele and Abraham Chebii, and the need to promote the sport of Athletics generally.

“Yes, I remain a very happy and contented man.

With the recent results I have got, I am really so happy. Since I got my present records (World 5000m and 10,000m in 1998) this has been my fastest start to any season.

This time I have moved to longer distance training and when I have checked when racing to see if I still had speed I have been happily surprised with what I could do.

At the time when I was training for the Marathon I was really worried because I nearly lost all my speed, and I could not just sit there and do nothing about that. If you run the 10 and the 5, you need speed.

Kenenisa and Chebii, they are running and looking like I was five years ago (Haile is laughing and smiling at this point). They are very fast. This is normal, you cannot control the whole world forever.

I am so glad to have runners like Kenenisa at this moment to follow on from me, we (Ethiopia) hopefully will not have too many problems at the World Championships with talents like him.

He is a very good athlete already. He is still so young, only 21, and is doing so many great different things like his great wins at cross country. We can expect him to improve a lot more in the next five or six years.

There are also many more young Ethiopians coming up too. The future for Ethiopia is that we will dominate the running world.

The time when I was starting out there was only five or six of us but today there are so many runners all trying to qualify for the team. Back in 1993 I remember there were only two (Ethiopian) athletes qualified for 10,000m but today I would soon lose count at the numbers preparing for both 5 and 10,000 metres.

So I am confident about Ethiopia’s running future, it is bright.

I do have some wider concerns though about our sport generally. Athletics has to do something to help promote itself more up against other powerful sports, so that we become bigger and bigger. I couldn’t believe in Paris where we had such exciting and wonderful competition, that the day before such a big meet that all the talk in the newspapers was just about cycling (Tour de France), and very little about the Golden League.

Football also. Even in Ethiopia where Athletics is number one, and there is not much football, still you hear everyone talking about soccer.

As a sport we need to compete harder for our position in the world, and I hope we will win.”