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Ethiopia building strong athletics team for Beijing Olympics
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Ethiopia is building a strong athletics team for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, a senior sports official said on Friday.


Mulualem Bessie, secretary general of the Ethiopian Olympic Committee, said that Ethiopia had kicked off the preparation for the Beijing Olympics two months ago. They have wrapped up the budget planning and will start training within Ethiopia one month later.


As for the world renowned Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele, Mulualem have full confidence in his compatriot. "Surely, Bekele will win the 10,000 meters in the Beijing Olympic Games," he said.


The official added that Tariku Bekele, younger brother of Kenenisa, will participate in the Olympic Games as well.


Although Tariku Bekele has been defeated by Moses Kipsiro from Uganda and Kiprono Menjo from Kenya in the men's 5,000 meters in the ninth All-Africa Games this July, the performance of Ethiopians in the Osaka world championships has proved their competitiveness, stressed Mulualem.


In addition, the African athletic power had organized the first All Ethiopia Games this year, which attracted more than 4,000 athletes.


One aim of the Games was to prepare proper talents for the Beijing Olympics, noted Mulualem.


"We have got lots and lots of athletes, and we were in confusion about how to choose people," he said.


Like its neighbor Kenya, Ethiopia has also taken steps to diversify its gold events in the Olympic Games. "We have strived to diversify the possible gold events by trying to be qualified for the competitions ranging from 1,500m, 5,000m to marathon," said Mulualem.


Ethiopia mainly focused on 10,000 meters and marathon in the past Olympic Games.


(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2007)

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