Who would have guessed that the three-time Olympic champion, Kenenisa Bekele, started out as a footballer before transiting to running? He got onto quite a lucky strike too on the switch. Between 2002 and 2006 he won both the short and long races at the International Cross-Country Championships. He even broke Paul Tergat’s record number of titles with his sixth title in the long race.
However, it still remains a mystery why he bowed down to Kipchoge in the TCS Amsterdam Marathon in 2018. He simply walked away less than a mile from the finish line, went off course and headed right back to his hotel.
The Ethiopian won more than 20 races in the Olympics and World Championships, breaking six senior world records in the process. Among Kenenisa Bekele’s best are the 5k world record at 12:37 and the 10k world record at 26:17 and is the second-fastest marathon runner ever in a time of 2:03:03.
Bekele hails from Oromia, Ethiopia, where grew up since his birth in 1982. The 36-year-old athlete resides in Addis Ababa with his wife and three children. Apart from training as an athlete, he runs a hotel; the Kenenisa Hotel and a training centre at Sululta.