New publication: Kenyan and Ethiopian Athletics: Towards an Alternative Scientific Approach

– Sous la direction de Benoit Gaudin et Bezabih Wolde

 IRD Editions / CFEE

 Hors collection


 format 175 x 240

 236 pages

Présentation éditeur et bon de commande :

The collective book Kenyan and Ethiopian Athletics: Towards an Alternative Scientific Approach, resulting from a cooperation work between IRD and three partner universities in Kenya and Ethiopia, has just been published. Edited by Benoit Gaudin and Bezabih Wolde, it presents a selection of the best contributions of the symposium organized in Addis Ababa in June 2015. The book will soon be on sale on the websites of IRD Editions and CFEE (French Center for Ethiopian Studies).

About the book

Expectations are high for revelations about the ‘secret’ of East-African runners, and they hover over this book as they do over any other publication of the topic. Has science finally unveiled the mystery of these athletes? Will this book tell us why these guys are so good at long distance running? Well, in part it will, yes. Especially if you are ready to open your mind, to understand that high altitude has more effect on the runners’ motivation than on their physiology (see introduction), and to admit that your quest for such ‘secrets’ is part of a misleading belief in their supposed biological otherness.
It is important to remind ourselves that so far, and despite decades of research, no study in the life sciences has ever provided evidence of any sort of biological otherness among the populations of Kenya and Ethiopia which produce the best athletes in the world of middle and long distance running. This lack of positive results reveals a failure and should logically- if science were the only dimension at stake – lead to the abandonment of the paradigm based on the biological otherness of East-African, and more broadly of ‘Black’ athletes.


 Benoit Gaudin is an assistant professor in the Dept of Sport Science of the Université de Versailles St Quentin, France. He is a member of the URMIS research unit and currently in secondment for Institut de Recherche pour le Développement at the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

 Bezabeh Wolde is an associate professor in the Dept of Sport Science of the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is also a board member of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.


 Scientific Committee


Benoit Gaudin and Bezabeh Wolde

Chapter 1. Sport History of Ethiopia: A Case Study of Ethiopian Women Athletics
Tamirat Gebremariam
Chapter 2. ‘Men on the Spot’— Athletics Development in 1950s’ Kenya: Order or Leisure?
Malcom Anderson

Chapter 3. The Role of Social Environments: Family and Its Influence on Kenyan Athletes’ Performance
Simiyu Mwanga, Benoit Gaudin and Felix Ngunzo Kioli
Chapter 4. Socio-Cultural Determinants of Athletics Abilities among Kenyan Elite and Sub-Elite Middle- and Long-Distance Runners
Issah K. Wabuyabo, Peter W. Bukhala and Benoit Gaudin
Chapter 5. Career Transitions of Retired Runners in Kenya: Implications for Stakeholders
Elijah G. Rintaugu, Eric Ngetich, Isaac M. Kamande and Andanje Mwisukha
Chapter 6. Reasons for Youth Sport Dropout from Organized Sport: the Case of Ethiopian Youth Sport Academy Athlete Tirunesh Dibaba Sport Training Centre
Leulseged Petros

Chapter 7. Psychosocial Benefits of Parental Involvement in Organized Physical Activity for Children with Intellectual Disability in Nairobi County, Kenya
Jane W. Mwangi, Peter W. Bukhala, and Andanje Mwisukha
Chapter 8. Psychosocial Challenges Facing Athletes (Medium- and Long-distance Runners) in Eldoret, Kenya
Eunice N. Mutuku, Felix N. Kioliand and Benoit Gaudin
Chapter 9. Causal Attribution of Athletes on Their Success and Failure in Distance Running: An Exploratory Analysis on Ethiopian Prolific Athletes
Demelash Kassaye
Chapter 10. The Power of Social Modelling on Self-Efficacy Building amongst Junior Running Athletes in Elgeyo Marakwet County District, Kenya
Atieno R. Opiyo and James B. Ouda

Chapter 11. From Running to Business: Trends in Athletics-generated Investment in Ethiopia
Bayuligne Zemedeagegnehu
Chapter 12. When Running Becomes a Factor of Development: The Case of the Town of Iten, Kenya
Tristan Milot

Chapter 13. Grass-Roots Training: A Challenge for Ethiopian Athletics
Bezabeh Wolde and Benoit Gaudin
Chapter 14. Ethiopian Regional Sport Hindering the Federal Motto of “Unity in the Diversity”
Olivier Fougeroud and Guylaine Saffrais

Chapter 15. Youth, Running and ‘Development’: An Exploration
Michael Crawley
Chapter 16. Running Culture in Kenya
Rhea Richter
Chapter 17. Upstream from the (Expected) Medals: Running with Hope in Addis Ababa
Mehdi Labzaé

Chapter 18. Challenges Facing Disabled Athletics in Ethiopia
Abyote Assefa
Chapter 19. Influence of Skill-related Coaching-efficacy on the Motivation of Special Olympics Volunteer-coaches Motivation in Nairobi, Kenya
Daniel Njenga, Helen N. Muthomi and Peter W. Bukhala

Chapter 20. Gender Discrimination in Athletics Reporting in Select Print Media in Kenya
Maurine Ningala

Chapter 21. Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) Strategy as a Symbol of Socialization in Kenyan Conflict-prone Communities
Eunice K. Majanga

Benoit Gaudin