‘If Usain agrees. . . I am ready': ዩሲን ከተስማማ እኔ ዝግጁ ነኝ

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‘If Usain agrees. . . I am ready': ዩሲን ከተስማማ እኔ ዝግጁ ነኝ

Unread post by Ethiopians » 04 Sep 2009 09:17

‘If Usain agrees. . . I am ready'

BRUSSELS — The Associated Press Last updated on
Thursday, Sep. 03, 2009 02:10PM EDT

Sprinter Usain Bolt and long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele are both unbeatable — over their distance. So, why not have them race against each other somewhere in between?

“If Usain agrees, if someone wants to organize this, I am ready,” Bekele said Thursday, a day before the Memorial Van Damme Golden League meet.

Bolt, of Jamaica, is the reigning world and Olympic champion and world record-holder over 100 and 200 metres. Bekele, of Ethiopia, is the reigning world and Olympic champion and
world record-holder over 5,000 and 10,000 metres.

The idea would be to find a middle ground, somewhere between 600 and 800 metres.
Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia speaks with reporters at a news conference in Brussels on Thursday. REUTERS

“I think I am pretty good at 600 metres,” Bolt said last week. Above 800 metres, he said, “I have no chance.”

Bekele also thinks the two could meet around that distance.

“Six-hundred metres is a good chance for him,” said Bekele, considering he would lose too much over the first lap. “I need some 800 metres, maybe 700 metres.”
Any Bolt-Bekele showdown would be the biggest such match race since 200 and 400 Olympic champion Michael Johnson raced Canadian 100 champion Donovan Bailey over 150 metres
in Toronto after the 1996 Atlanta Games. Johnson pulled up lame halfway through that race and the legacy of the event is more of a joke than anything else.

Bekele's manager, Jos Hermens, realizes that Bolt dominates the sport to such an extent that even a superlative performance like Bekele's 5,000-10,000 double at the Olympics and
worlds became merely a footnote.

“I will have to think about it this winter,” said Hermens of a potential matchup. “I will have to take it up with Ricky Simms,” the manager of Bolt.

Bekele is often left frustrated because his performances rarely get the merit they deserve. He is still chasing the worldwide acclaim his compatriot Haile Gebrselassie already has.

It stands in sharp contrast with Bolt, whose showmanship and stunning performances have made him one of the most marketable athletes in any sport.

When it comes to official performances, the two get no closer than the 400 for Bolt and the 1,500 for Bekele.

Bekele set a personal best of three minutes 32.35 over 1,500 two years ago, a time that would make him the 13th best performer of 2009. Bolt's top mark over 400 is 45.28 in 2007,which would be the 28th fastest time of this year.
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