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  • Kenenisa Bekele Runs 2:03:03 In Berlin, Misses WR By Six Seconds Kenenisa Bekele Runs 2:03:03 In Berlin, Misses WR By Six Seconds



    Kenenisa Bekele is going for the marathon world record again in just 11 days. Bekele, who has the 5K world record at 12:37 and the 10K world record at 26:17 and is the second fastest marathoner ever in 2:03:03, announced last night that he's going for the world record in Dubai. 2:02:57 is the world record, held by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya. Bekele's time is the Ethiopian record. The Dubai Marathon is Friday, January 20.

    According to Pat Butcher, who broke the news, Bekele said "It was fantastic for me to get a personal best [in Berlin], but I'm still disappointed to have missed out on the world record. But I could see that I still had to make a couple of changes in my training." Bekele's performance in Berlin was the second-fastest ever on a record legal course. (Geoffrey Mutai ran a wind-aided 2:03:02 in Boston in 2011.)

    Just a few hours after the Dubai news broke, April's London Marathon announced that Bekele is racing there as well. Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa, Olympic 4th-placer Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, and two-time world champ/defending Chicago champion Abel Kirui will be joining Bekele in London. London is April 23, almost exactly three months after Dubai.

    Conspicuously absent from the London announcement was two-time defending London champ and Olympic gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge. Nikeannounced earlier this year that Kipchoge will be attempting a sub-two-hour marathon on a non-record-legal course this spring, which means that Kipchoge and Bekele will likely have missed each other at the Olympics, Dubai, and London. Bekele was a controversial non-selection for the Ethiopian Olympic team this summer. 

    2:03:03 is 4:41 mile pace for 26.2 miles; 1:59:59 is 4:34 pace.





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  • Uncategorized Feyisa Lilesa: Ethiopia’s Olympic protester hopes to compete for his country

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    Ethiopian Olympic marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa still hopes to compete for his country – despite being exiled since last summer’s Games.

    Lilesa has been living in the US on a temporary visa after making an anti-government gesture when he finished in second place in Rio.

    He believes his life would be in danger if he returned to his homeland.

    “I’ve always wanted to run for my country and for my people,” the 26-year-old told BBC World Service.

    “I would like to see myself in a country where the current government is removed and the people get freedom, so I can run for my country – not for a different country.”

    Back in August, Lilesa became the first Ethiopian to finish in the top two of a men’s Olympics marathon since 2000, claiming silver behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge.


    As he crossed the line, Lilesa lifted his arms in an X-shape above his head in solidarity with the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group, who have suffered a crackdown at the hands of the Ethiopian government.

    The country’s officials said the runner would be welcomed home from Rio as a hero, but Lilesa said he might be killed if he returned.

    A funding campaign was launched to help pay his legal fees and support his wife and children back home, whom he has not seen since before the Olympics.

    “I have no regrets about doing what I did in Rio,” said Lilesa. “I would rather regret not doing anything. I know my family is living far away from me, and that might be a problem, but my family could have been one of those families who was shot dead in the street.

    “I miss my wife and children but this is no more of a problem than the Oromo people face. Compared to other people, this is not a problem for me. She knows I might get killed if I went back so it’s OK living far away from her.”

    A special visa was issued to Lilesa so he can live and train in the US, but he insists he has no plans to stay there permanently.

    He added: “Since my wish is to one day go back to my own country, I will remain in this country as long as my visa allows. I have no intention to ask for asylum.”


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  • Soft Drinks Lose Fizz as Gov’t Shuts Down Factories


    In an unprecedented move, a government agency has ordered the shutting down of two soft drink bottling plants and ordered the recall of the products.

    The Ministry of Trade has shutdown the MOHA Soft Drinks plant in Hawassa and the East Africa Bottling plant in Dire Dawa over substandard qualities. The companies are known for their flagship products, Pepsi and Coca Cola, respectively.

    Sources from the Ministry of Trade confirmed the closure. However they declined to comment on the current status of the investigations.

    The plant in Hawassa, called the Hawassa Millennium Pepsi Cola plant was opened in 2007 and employs over 500 people.

    “We have been informed of the process but it is too early to comment,” Tekie Berhan, communication director Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise told Fortune.

    The office is responsible for conducting inspections on the two factories regarding the quality of the products.

    In a letter written by the enterprise regarding MOHA’s products, the reason behind the closure was revealed as the substandard quality of the soft drinks processed by the plant.

    The letter reads that samples taken on October 17, 2016 from the plants from Hawassa failed to fulfil PH Standards set by Ethiopian Standard Agency. In general, the allegation states that MOHA failed to meet the compulsory standards in soft drinks that were approved by the Agency in 2013.

    The test results of Pepsi soft drinks manufactured in the Hawassa plant show that it failed the PH limit standards. The requirements state that PH values for soft drinks (aside from citrus juices) have to be 2.5. Pepsi’s samples showed 2.43.

    A low PH might lead to loss of enamel and bone density.

    “In addition we were told that the products contain lead chemicals beyond the standard limits,” Samuel Daregea, director for the Region’s Health & Health Related Products Quality Control Authority, told Fortune. “The results that we received showed us that Pepsi, Mirinda Apple and Mirinda Tonic failed to pass the test,” Samuel added.

    WHO has identified lead as 1 of 10 chemicals of major public health concern,

    In the meantime the city’s administration is collecting the products from the market. The recall also includes Mirinda Orange.

    The letter by ECAE stated that the closure of the plants would be effective until the products are proved to meet the set standards. MOHA was closed two weeks ago by an order directly came from the ministry office

    “So far there is no new development, the plant is still closed,” he said. The MOHA Hawassa plant has a production capacity of 36,000 bottles per hour of 300ml soft drinks..

    Upon the closure the company was ordered to stop selling the already produced bottles.
 “This is just ridiculous,” said a manger from MOHA who asked to remain anonymous. “The company is losing huge amounts of money.”

    So far, he estimates, the company has lost around 25 million Br in revenue. On the other hand, the East Africa Bottling plant in Dire Dawa is another company that felt the brunt of the inspection by the ministry.

    “We received the closure order from the Ministry,” said an official from Dire Dawa City Trade Bureau who want to remain anonymous given the sensitiveness of the matter. “Our mandate was to respect and enforce it.”

    Its plant in Dire Dawa has a production capacity of 36,000 bottles every hour. Three years ago the company has also invested close to 20 million dollars to increase its capacity five fold.

    Fortune’s attempt to speak with Xavier Selga, CEO of East African Bottling S.C failed despite a repeated call and delivered SMS.

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