When you establish a sporting reputation as quickly and as supreme as has
Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele since 2001, it should come as no surprise that
your rivals will focus all their attentions on knocking you back down to size.
There is nothing unfair about it, it is just a reality of life.
Bekele versus the world
Therefore at this weekend’s 32nd IAAF World Cross Country
Championships, Brussels, Belgium, the distance running world will be divided
into two camps, Bekele and the rest of the world.
Bekele, the reigning double short and long course champion is entered for
both races in Brussels, and while the annual question of whether or not he will
actually run both distances is again in the air, the more interesting topic in
this Olympic year is the 21 year-old’s growing invincibility on all
Should the World 10,000m champion stride around Brussels’ Park Van
Laken in the same confident manner as he did twelve months before at the
Avenches course at Lausanne – La Broye, then the world’s best
distance runners might as wellcrown Bekele with the Olympic laurels at the same
One race or two for Bekele in Brussels, it really doesn’t matter. The
Kenyans, Tanzanians, Moroccans and perhaps even Bekele’s illustrious
Ethiopian team-mates must now be aware that another soul destroying victory in
Brussels would at the very least tighten the World indoor 5000m record
breakers’ psychological grip over the Olympic Games with just five months
to go before Athens.
Unless injury intervenes - and Bekele has been prone to Achilles problems in
the past - Brussels is perhaps the last redoubt for the rest of the world as it
tries to repel his Olympic assault.