17th June 2012


17 June

Kenenisa Bekele, the defending 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic Champion and one of the greatest distance athletes of all time, will lead a world class line-up of international guest stars in the 10,000m final at the Aviva 2012 Trials on Friday 22 June, at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.

 Bekele, who is also the World Record holder over both 5,000m and 10,000m, will be joined by an array of current and former World and Commonwealth medallists:

·         Moses Kipsiro (UGA) – defending Commonwealth Games 5,000m and 10,000m champion

·         Gebre Gebremariam (ETH) –  former World Cross Country Champion

·         Tariku Bekele (ETH) – Kenenisa’s younger brother and a former World Indoor Champion.

Seeking a unique third successive Olympic 10,000m gold medal this summer, Kenenisa Bekele says he is looking forward to competing against tough opposition in Birmingham.

“This race will be a great opportunity for me to compete against some of the best distance athletes and secure my place in the Ethiopian Olympic team. There are not many 10,000m races on the European circuit so I’m looking forward to an exciting battle in Birmingham. I am improving with every competition this season so I will be expecting to run a very fast race.”

Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar), Britain’s World 5,000m gold and 10,000m silver medallist, will not face Bekele over 10,000m at the Aviva 2012 Trials, having chosen to race over 1500m in order to put his speed and finishing ability to the test.

For Farah, watching Bekele and his international rivals in action in Birmingham is a key part of his preparation for the Olympic Games this summer.

“I think it’s great that some of the top Ethiopian and Ugandan athletes are going to be at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham. It gives me an opportunity to see up close how they are racing and gauge their form."

In their only meeting so far this season, Farah convincingly beat Bekele over 5,000m in Eugene on June 2nd, and Bekele admits that in his quest to retain his Olympic titles, Farah is one of the key men that he will have to overcome.

“I am confident of defending my Olympic titles. Mo Farah is in good form this year and he is one of the athletes that will be very hard to beat this summer. I am looking forward to watching him run over the shorter 1500m distance in Birmingham too.”

UK Athletics Head of Endurance, Ian Stewart, also spoke enthusiastically about hosting some of the world’s top distance athletes at the Aviva 2012 Trials.

“Having the likes of Kenenisa Bekele and the world’s leading distance runners competing at the Aviva 2012 Trials will be a great asset to the event and fantastic for our sport. Opportunities to see these top athletes compete over 10,000m are few and far between, so we will be watching them very closely as part of Mo’s preparations for the Olympic Games later this summer.

“This is also a great opportunity for our top Brits and five of our top juniors – who will be battling for World Junior Championships qualification – to run against world-class opposition.”

British 10,000m Olympic hopefuls lining up on Friday evening beside Bekele at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium will be aiming for the Olympic A standard of 27:45.00. British juniors will require 31:30.00 to qualify for the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in July.

The men’s 10,000m final at the Aviva 2012 Trials is scheduled for 8.55pm on Friday 22 June.

Back the team and watch over 750 of Britain’s best athletes in action at the Aviva 2012 Trials at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium from 22nd-24th June. For tickets visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.