Haile Gebreselassie

Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie resigned as president of the country’s Athletics Federation two years into his four-year mandate after an unspecified “incident”.

Gebrselassie, who resigned on Monday, called it a “sacrifice” for the sport and has been replaced by the federation’s vice president, Derartu Tulu.

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The retired 45-year-old has been unhappy with the growing grievances of local athletes about training facilities and decision-making, which he believes are politically motivated.

The issue came to a head on Sunday at a local meet’s medal ceremony when junior athletes refused to shake hands with athletics officials.

“What happened yesterday was unprofessional and harmful to Ethiopian athletics. Instead of getting myself into an unnecessary argument, I decide to resign from my position,” Gebrselassie wrote on Twitter.

The 10,000 metres double Olympic gold medallist and multiple marathon champion was elected in 2016 to the federation’s helm after accusing its leaders of “incompetence” during the preparations for the Rio Olympics.