Tata Steel Kolkata 25K: Tariku Bekele following in elder brother Kenenisa’s footsteps

The 32-year-old Tariku has moved to marathon running and will use the upcoming event as a training exposure for the bigger goal in his career.

Tariku Bekele won the bronze medal in 10,000m in the London Olympics. Photo: Special Arrangement

Following in his illustrious elder brother Kenenisa Bekele’s footsteps, 32-year-old Tariku Bekele has moved to marathon running and will use the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K as a training exposure for the bigger goal in his career.

Tariku, a World Indoor champion in 3000m and a London Olympics bronze medallist in 10,000m, looked up to 37-year-old Kenenisa who completed the Berlin marathon with second fastest time ever — 2:01:41, two seconds off Eluid Kipchoge’s world record – in September.

“He (Kenenisa) is my hero. I started training with him and now he is running himself and guiding me. He advises me before every race. He follows my training programme. Sometimes we train together and I ask him about my training, gym and progress,” Tariku said on Thursday, in the run-up to the 25K race here on December 15.

‘Nice race’

Tariku, who had to switch to long distance road races due to injuries, got some inputs from Kenenisa about the 25K run. “My brother (who won the 25K here in 2017) told me it is a nice race. This is very good to prepare for marathon. This is like training,” said Tariku, who clocked 2:11:30 to finish sixth in the Seoul marathon this year.

Read | Srinu, Parul among top Indians for TSK 25K

Asked to choose between his brother and another Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie, Tariku said, “Both are different talent and quality runners. For me, Kenenisa is the best.”

Two other elite runners — Leonard Barsoton, a World Cross Country silver medallist from Kenya, and USA steeplechase specialist Stanley Kebenei — and top women athletes Birke Debele of Ethiopia and Tanzanian Failuna Matanga also looked forward to test themselves over an unconventional distance.

Meanwhile, reigning European 10,000m women’s champion Lonah Salpeter has pulled out of the race due to personal reasons.

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