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Kenenisa Bekele will not be reconsidered for Olympics

Kenenisa Bekele

BERLIN - AUGUST 23: Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia celebrates winning the gold medal in the men’s 5000 Metres Final during day nine of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 23, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (AP) -- Ethiopian track and field officials say they will not reconsider their selection criteria to allow Kenenisa Bekele a place on the country’s Olympic marathon team.

Ethiopian Athletics Federation president Alebachew Nigusse says “we couldn’t really change the criteria again to bring him back just because he is Kenenisa.”

Bekele, world-record holder in the 5000m and 10,000m, was surprisingly left off Ethiopia’s four-man marathon team for the Rio Games.

He protested his exclusion, calling the qualification criteria unfair and claiming that athletes were not given advance warning of what they needed to do to make the team.

Bekele, fellow Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie, and more than 100 other athletes protested Tuesday against the federation’s qualifying process.

Federation head Alebachew held a news conference Wednesday to defend the procedure.

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