SEPTEMBER 11 - HAILE GEBRSELASSIE (pictured), Kenenisa Bekele and Paul Tergat, three of the greatest runners in history, have joined forces to lead a campaign to get cross-country reinsteated into the Olympics.


The trio, who between them have won five Olympic gold medals, 16 World Cross-Country titles and own every world record between 5,000 metres and the marathon, have written a joint letter to the Presidents of the International Olympic Committee(IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Jacques Rogge and Lamine Diack respectively, making their proposal.


Cross-country was dropped from the Olympics after the 1924 Games in Paris when 23 of the 38 starters failed to finish due to the extreme heat and poisonous fumes from a nearby energy plant.


They write: "Cross-country running is of course the most natural, indeed elemental of all sports.


"It is a fascinating discipline whose roots are lost in the earliest history of mankind.


"In the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, cross-country running was so far seen for the last time with the victory of one of the greatest Olympians, Finland's Paavo Nurmi."


Ethiopian Bekele is the greatest cross-country in history having won 11 world titles while Kenyan Tergat won five World Cross Country Championships in a row.


Gebrselassie, who many consider the finest distance runner in history, was ironically a relatively poor cross-country runner and has never won a major title. 


But that has not stopped the Ethiopian adding his considerable influence to the campaign.


The three write: "We think that it would be wonderful to give the world's best cross-country runners the chance to compete in the greatest of all sporting festivals and we are hopeful for a response."