Female champion becomes Ethiopia’s athletics boss

Female champion becomes Ethiopia’s athletics boss

Derartu Tului won gold in the 10,000m final at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992

(bbc)—Derartu Tulu, the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal, has been appointed as interim president of Ethiopia’s Athletics Federation – replacing legendary athlete Haile Gebrselassie.

His unexpected resignation on Monday came after protests over poor training facilities in Oromia region, home to many of Ethiopia’s notable athletes.

He had campaigned vigorously over the last two years to bring change, saying the federation should be allowed to be led by sports personalities.

But recently he said that his presidency had been undermined, preventing him from enforcing some of the federation’s law and regulations.

Haile, a two-time Olympic 10,000m champion, is widely regarded as a national icon

President of Oromia Athletics Federation, Dagnachew Shiferaw, told the BBC: ‘‘Haile didn’t provide what he promised when he came to power. And athletes question this.”

Some in the athletics community are concerned that his resignation will be damaging for Ethiopian athletics.

One athletics expert told the BBC: ‘‘While huge competitions such as Doha Athletics Championship and Olympics are ahead, his resignation is damaging.’’

Haile had nominated Derartu as his replacement – and the federation’s executive committee appointed her as interim president until an urgent congress meeting can be held in the coming months.