Bekele empathetic towards 'clean' Russian athletes

Bekele, a multiple World and Olympic gold medallist, was empathetic towards the Russian athletes who had to suffer for no fault of theirs. About his comeback, he said he was eyeing to be back in competitive running by participating in one of the marathons in London or Tokyo early next year.

Kenenisa Bekele is the world record holder in 5000m and 10000m.   -  AP

Kenenisa Bekele, the Olympic and World record holder in 5000m and 10000m, said the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banning the Russian federation on widespread doping charges would hurt the 'clean' athletes of the country.

Bekele, a multiple World and Olympic gold medallist, was empathetic towards the Russian athletes who had to suffer for no fault of theirs. “As a sportsman I feel something – what if I were born in that country...Sometimes it is not fair to ban the country. You can ban the people who are cheating, but banning the country is a big damage for everybody,” said Bekele at a press conference here on Thursday.

Speaking about his future as asd athlete, Bekele, who is here as the brand ambassador of the Airtel Delhi half-marathon, said his comeback looked difficult if not impossible.

‘Comeback is difficult’

“I enjoy running and want to participate in the Olympics and World championship. But my biggest problem is my injury. I have been struggling for the last five years. I am trying to get back (into top level competitions). But it is tough at this time,” he said

Bekele said he was eyeing to be back in competitive running by participating in one of the marathons in London or Tokyo early next year.

‘Could’ve been injury-free had I treated myself better’

In the presence of some top long-distance runners such as Zersenay Tadese, Moses Kipsiro, Florence Kiplagat and Meseret Hailu, 33-year-old Bekele explained why an elite athlete like him, who could afford the best of medical facilities, picked up injuries. “Sometimes you make mistakes while training. When you are in good shape you do not think you can do anything wrong. If I had treated myself better, I could have been injury free,” he added.

Bekele, who owns a hotel in his home country and coaches young athletes, hailed British athlete Mo Farah, the double gold medallist in 5000m and 10000m in the London Olympics and the Beijing World championship, for his feats. “Mo Farah has got some top results. What he has done is great. His future depends on how he can proceed from here,” said the Ethiopian.