By Gregory Warner |

When Ethiopia barred its best distance runner from competing in the 2016 Olympics, many saw it as an act of ethnic discrimination. Another runner from the same ethnic group says he was exiled.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you are a betting person – and we’re not endorsing this – but if you are, it’s a safe bet that the gold in middle-distance running in this summer’s Olympics will go to Ethiopia or Kenya. That’s because those two countries dominate the 5K and the 10K. So it was a shock to the running world when Ethiopia announced its main national team will not include the world record holder in both those races. That’s three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele. Bekele says he is being discriminated against because of his ethnicity. Bekele is Oromo. NPR’s Gregory Warner tells us more about why other runners say ethnic discrimination casts a shadow over Ethiopian track.

GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: The 23-year-old refugee I meet in Nairobi talks quietly as if to conserve energy. He’s thin and nervous. But there’s one name that can put a burst of joy on his face. That name – Kenenisa Bekele.

Continue reading the transcript or listening to the interview on NPR
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