Long distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie has been elected president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.
The 43-year-old was elected on Saturday night after he won nine out of fifteen votes, beating two other candidates. The incumbent President did not seek a re-election to his tenure, giving Gebrselassie a shot. He will go ahead and serve a four-year term.
”I am honored that athletes trust me to deliver in this position. I am looking forward to working together with all people involved in the EAF to work on a great future for Ethiopian athletics,” said Gebrselassie.
The 10,000m double Olympic gold medalist, earlier this year, took part in a demonstration against the athletics federation’s selection criteria.
The federation dropped triple Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele from the Olympic team much to everybody’s surprise because he had not run enough big races.
Ethiopia inadvertently went on to win just eight medals at Rio, including only one gold for Almaz Ayana in the women’s 10,000m. Ethiopia then went on to be placed 44th in the country rankings way behind its historic rival and neighbor, Kenya.
Gebrselassie subsequently called for the Ethiopian Athletics Federation chief to resign.
He immediately put himself in contention to replace the federation’s president saying he was willing to ”share his experience” to help Ethiopia prepare for the upcoming 2017 world championships in London and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Haile Gebrselassie started his career in 1992, winning the 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the World Junior Championships.
He is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time with 27 world records, 61 Ethiopian records, two Olympic gold medals and eight world championship titles.