ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian athletes are preparing to take part in the 2018 IAAF Diamond League that is scheduled to kick off on 4 May 2018 in Doha, Qatar. This will be the ninth season of the IAAF Diamond League which comprises the 14 best invitational track and field meetings in the world.
The meetings compose the top tier of the IAAF’s global one-day meeting competition structure and are spread across Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.
This series, which began in 2010, showcases 32 event disciplines which are distributed among the 14 meetings. As in a championship, the performance of athletes in the final alone will determine who the champion will be and the prize money won.
Athletes earn points in the first 12 meetings in the road to the final. At the two final meetings, held in Zurich and Brussels on consecutive days, $100,000 will be at stake in each of the 32 Diamond disciplines, including $50,000 for each winner.
The 2018 IAAF Diamond League calendar shows that after the Doha, Qatar meet on Friday 4 May the Shanghai, China event will follow on 12 May. The final will be at Brussels, Belgium on 31 August.
Ethiopian athletes have been closely associated with diamond League all through. Here’s how strange the women’s 10,000m has become: neither of the two favorites have raced at all on the track in 2017.
On paper, this figures to be a battle between 10,000 world record holder Almaz Ayana and 5,000 world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba.
This shows how the Ethiopian female athletes inspired the 2017 Diamond League. What we know for sure is that the Ethiopian wonder athletes Almaz and Tirunesh are two of the greatest 10,000m runners in history. When they were healthy and fit, they provided Ethiopia with the greatest shot at medalling in the international arena.
Will they participate in the 2018 Diamond League? So far the there is no confirmation. Almaz Ayana, who is both the world record holder and the reigning Olympic champion didn’t take part in big global meet in the last three or four months. Her agent said that Almaz is healthy and has been training well, but it’s impossible to say exactly how fit she is right now.
Though pulled out half way Tirunesh participated in the recent London Marathon. Injury or health problem was not said to be as the cause of her withdrawal from London but after she decided to stick to road race her interest to return to the track is unlikely. There is no marathon race in Diamond League. So that the chance of looking Tirunesh in the making at the 2018 Diamond League is bleak.
The expected participants are the young ones. Yomif Kejelcha in the men’s 5, 000m is expected to face his own compatriot Muktar Edris who joined the world of prominence after beating Mo Farah in the London World Athletics championship in 5, 000m.
BBC by then reported; “After six years, 10 straight global titles and four double golds, they finally found a way to beat him in his last big track race.
“Sir Mo Farah’s conqueror even had the audacity to celebrate with a ‘Mobot’ as Britain’s most successful track-field-athlete collapsed to the floor in tears.
“His shock was shared by 56,000 people packed into the London Stadium who came to witness history repeat itself five years on from Farah’s glorious Olympic 5,000 meters and 10,000m double at the same venue.”
To the surprise of Mo and the 56, 000 people packed the stadium Muktar celebrated his victory by mimicking Farah's signature Mobot move.
Mo refused to criticise the Ethiopians’ tactics or Muktar’s ‘Mobot’, which he said he saw as a sign of “respect”.
“You have to give credit to Muktar, they had a game plan and it was three against one,” Mo said adding “They had to sacrifice one of them and it was Yomif, who didn’t get a medal.
“Muktar Edris sat at the back, and did as little work as possible to then hit me on the last lap. That was their plan.”
The two strong Ethiopians, Yomif and Muktar, are now expected to race neck and neck in Doha. Whoever comes first, the winner will be Ethiopia.
Jimma Abajifar consolidate League leadership
The fresh appearance in the country’s elite league didn’t hamper Jima Abajifar from taking the driving seat of the Ethiopian Premier League football club competition on 39 points from 22 games.
Following a goalless tie with the hot favourites the Addis side Coffee on Sunday at Addis Ababa stadium helped them to consolidate their league leadership.
Their coach Gebremedhin Haile said that they came to Addis either to share a point or to collect the full three points with win over Coffee. “We managed to share a point. We are happy about it. That helped us to maintain our league leadership. We are in the second round. We have only eight matches to go. Keeping this pace at this stage is very important for the side that campaign for title,” Gebre said.
Gebremedhin was the striker of Saint George and the national team. He is well remembered for scoring the decisive goal against Zimbabwe in the 15th CECAFA Cup final that was held at the Addis Ababa stadium.
His injury time goal helped the national football team to go for extra 30 minutes after finishing 1-1 at the normal 90 minutes. The national side lifted the CECAFA title beating Zimbabwe in penalty shootouts after settling the play 1-1 in the extra time.
That was the first time for Ethiopia to take the East African trophy in December 1987. The then president of the country Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam gave plots of land at Gerji to the football federation days after that great victory as a reward for the national team’s victory. The Chinese company is constructing a national stadium at that plots of land this time.
Coffee who suffered a 1-0 defeat by St. George last week Monday in classical derby are now 7th on 32 points, 7 adrift of the league leaders. But on Sunday prior to the game, most Coffee fans had the gut and the determination to close in on the gap with win over Jima Abajifar. A win could make their hope for title campaign wider than it is now. Even this time, the title fight is not over. With eight matches at hand the possibility to go up the leader is still high.
Following a 1-0 victory on home ground against the visiting side Wolayita Dicha, Mekele City went one step up to take the second spot on 36 points. Both the top and second placed sides joined the elite league at the start of this season.
Considering the three points difference between the league leaders and the second placed shows that the results of a single match will possibly change the line-up.
On Saturday, the surprise lose of footing has been registered against the long time league leaders Dedebit when they suffered another round of away defeat at the hands of Sidama Coffee.
Dedebit were in the lead on 33 points for long but standing on that 33 points they were overtaken by a relatively inexperienced side Jima Abajifar and Mekele City.
Dedebit had taken the trophy once in the league’s 21 years history.
When Dedebit extended the league at the end of the first round, very many thought that the season’s trophy would go in to their coffer but now it looks a little bit out of their hand. Unless they make a quick recovery, the title fight could completely go out of hand.
The struggling Electric side succeeded in collecting the full three points with a 1-0 win over Woldiya City on Saturday. This is not a good pace for Woldiya City that struggle for survival.
Dire Dawa City are also in bad shape after sharing a point with a 1-1 home tie with Hawassa City.
The game’s organizing body, EFF, is trying hard to complete the premier league and the Ethiopian knock out trophy in this season. The common practice has been to postpone the knock out trophy for the next year but his year it seems both calendars are expected to be completed in one season.
By Solomon Bekele