Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tola wins Beijing Marathon with new event record in deadly polluted city

Tadese Tola of Ethiopia broke the event record set 27 years ago to win the men's race at the Beijing International marathon on Sunday in a deadly polutted , two months after he claimed a marathon bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
I hope such marathons will not be held in a city like Beijing  where the air completely destroyed and not healthy on the streets leave alone running in such horrible city of the dead air.
"It was my first time to compete in Beijing and I am happy for today's result," said Tola, who will turn 26 by the end of the month. "The weather is very good and the course is very good too."
Tola clocked two hours, seven minutes and 16 seconds to finish the race, trimming the former event record set by Japanese runner Taisuke Kodama in 1986 by 19 seconds.
The Ethiopian improved his marathon personal best to 2:04:49 and finished third in his first race of 2013 at the Dubai Marathon. He also finished as runner-up at the the 2013 Paris Marathon.
"After the World Championships I never stopped training. So I came to Beijing with good form," said Tola who clocked 2:10:23 to take the bronze in Moscow worlds with the gold went to Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda in 2:09:51.
Launched in 1981, the Beijing Marathon witnessed a fast and close competition on Sunday as the leading trio were almost shoulder-to-shoulder at the last 500 meters, before Tola surged a fast homestretch sprint to hit the finishing line first.
Benard Kiprop Kipyego of Kenya trailed 3 seconds behind to finish second while his countryman Rono Daniel Kipkurgat finished third in 2:07:20.
China's 22-year-old runner Zhang Yingying claimed the title of women's event in 2:31:19, extending China's overwhelming record in the women's race of Beijing Marathon as it was the 22nd straight women's title won by Chinese since 1992.
Makda Harun Haji of Ethiopia pocketed the silver in 2:33:04 while the bronze was notched by Yeshimebet Tadesse Bifa, also from Ethiopia, in 2:35:20.
"I just ran to my normal level today like I usually did in my training. During the last part of the race I was leading alone and I think if someone can chase me closely the result could be better," said Zhang, whose personal best is 2:22:38 when she won the Xiamen Marathon with a course record in 2008.
"After 35 kilometers I was feeling exhausted but I managed to hang on and took the gold," she added.
Zhang claimed the half marathon title at Beijing Marathon in 2006 and finished second in the full length race in 2007. She also competed in the women's 5,000m and 10,000m event in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Ethiopia Haile's first marathon draws crowds to 'land of runners'

By Jenny Vaughan 
Hawassa — The sun had barely risen but the cool morning air was buzzing with excitement: 350 participants had gathered in Ethiopia, the land of runners, for the country's first international marathon organised by athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie.
Sunday's race, which drew 150 elite Ethiopian athletes and about 150 foreign ?fun runners?, promises to boost professionalism in a country that has produced scores of world-class runners, many of whom started running barefoot along dusty country roads.
?Believe me, we can produce more big names, we can produce more marathon runners, more Olympic champions, world champion and world record holders,? said Gebrselassie, two-time marathon record-breaker and 10,000 Olympic champion.
Race organisers sought to draw Ethiopia's top athletes to the race in Hawassa, 275 kilometres (170 miles) south of Ethiopia's capital, by offering the largest cash prize in Ethiopian racing history -- close to $5,300 (3,855 euros) each for the top man and woman competitors.
The marathon is part of an overall boost to Ethiopian athletics, which in the past two years has been bolstered by new world-class training centres and a series of competitive races that have drawn crowds from around the world.
?Two years ago there was nothing here, athletes they wanted to come to Ethiopia to train there was no facility,? said Gebrselassie, who hosts several runs throughout the year, including the annual Great Ethiopian Run, which last year drew close to 40,000 people.
Today he has his own training centre, Yaya Village, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa and last year, 5,000 and 10,000 world record holder Kenenisa Bekele opened a running centre with one of the country's only professional-rate running tracks.
With its high altitude and consistently sunny weather ?- the country is often dubbed the land of ?13 months of sunshine? -? Ethiopia has long been heralded as one of the best places in Africa for long distance training, rivalled only by neighbouring Kenya.
Sunday's marathon winner, Gudissa Shentema,said the race was a historical victory for him as he had never run a competitive marathon on home soil, and that it has encouraged him to train harder.
?I've been competing in different countries but this one gives me a lot of motivation to continue,? he said, forehead glistening with sweat after his 42 kilometre-run.
Gebrselassie said he hopes to draw casual runners from abroad too, in order to promote a running culture and give foreigners a chance to tour Ethiopia.
?It's a very good opportunity to bring tourists to see Ethiopia," he said, adding that the international exposure is crucial for changing Ethiopia's image.
Annie Delp, 38, who came from the U.S. to run the half-marathon following a ten-day tour of northern Ethiopia, said the event is a chance to open foreign eyes to Ethiopia, a country better-known as a nation plagued with famine and unrest in the 1980s.
?It would change everything because people don't know how beautiful Ethiopia is, how sweet the people are and how awesome the food is, there's just so much,? said Delp, who came first in the women's half marathon.
For some, the race was also a chance to run alongside Ethiopia's future long distance stars and meet Gebrselassie, a global running hero.
Simon Newton, 35, did a ?running tour? of Ethiopia before doing Sunday's marathon, which he described as ?fantastic.?
Second-placed Newton has run around 40 marathons before but said the Haile Gebrselassie race was the ?most enjoyable? he has run.
As he tired around 35 kilometres, a group of children ran alongside him for motivation and at one point he had to dodge a monkey sitting on the road.
Gebrselassie said that while this year's race drew only modest crowds, he hopes the event will grow in the future, perhaps to gain global standing and rival the New York or London marathon.
?Of course, you cannot predict what will be in the future... now with this marathon, if people know about it, you never know,? he said with his characteristic wide grin.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya got what she came for Sunday in Chicago: redemption.

Kimetto Sets Course Record With Chicago Marathon WinLast year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon runner-up in the women's race finished first Sunday with a personal record time of 2:19:59, according to unofficial times.
Jeptoo was neck-and-neck last year with Atseda Baysa of Ethiopia for a thrilling photo finish. Baysa broke the tape in the end, just milliseconds ahead.
This year Jeptoo got hers, breaking away from her closest competition well before the final mile.
"It was the greatest competition in the history of the event," race director Carey Pinkowski said. "To have them back for a rematch, I can't wait."
Despite the intense rivalry, the two women are friends, and were joking with each other Friday while meeting with the press.
Rita Jeptoo Wins 2013 Chicago Marathon"Everything that happens on Sunday -- we tried. With my friend, to push and to run good," Atseda said.
Dathan Ritzenhein Talks About His Cramp Troubles
"Whether I win or she wins, I will be happy," Jeptoo added.
Atseda has had a great year so far, winning the Boston Marathon. But of course, her win was overshadowed the bombings, and she admits it is on her mind as she prepares for Chicago.
"I hope in Chicago there is not any problem," Atseda said. "I'm not happy because a lot of people had problems, injuries, some children died, some people died ... I want to say I'm very sorry that some people lost their families."

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Rita-Jeptoo-Gets-Redemption-in-Chicago-Marathon-Win-227580161.html#ixzz2hgMPtCgI

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ethiopia, Nigeria step up preparations for battle of Addis Ababa

PREPARATIONS have stepped up several gears leading up to Sunday’s World Cup final playoff between Ethiopia and Nigeria in Addis Ababa, reports mtnfootball.com.
At the weekend, Ethiopia’s top stars led by Getaneh Kebede joined up with the rest of the squad ahead of the epic clash.
Kebede, who missed his team’s final group qualifier against CAR due to injury, has been in fine form for South African club Bidvest Wits, where he has so far scored four goals.
He was not available for his South African club at the weekend because of a nagging ankle injury.
Today, elections into the executive committee of Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF) will be conducted and it is already known that the affairs of the EFF will no longer be piloted by the current boss, Sahlu Gebremariam, after he failed to get nomination from his constituency.
Some have seen the FA polls as a huge distraction before the country’s most important football match.
All the same, expectations are sky-high in Ethiopia that the Walya Antelopes will stun star-studded Nigeria on Sunday with coach Sewnet Bishaw saying his team have improved from the one who lost 2-0 to Nigeria in an AFCON group game in January.
Nigeria, on the other hand, expect a full house at their training camp in the country’s capital city of Abuja Tuesday.
They are expected to put in at least four full training sessions before their departure to Addis Ababa.
The Super Eagles have called up 23 players, 18 Europe-based and five from the domestic league.
Newcastle striker, Shola Ameobi, was a major injury doubt for Sunday’s showdown but coach Stephen Keshi has assured the experienced front man will be available for selection.
Nigeria will fly out to Ethiopia on Saturday afternoon on chartered flights.
When both teams last clashed in Addis Ababa in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, Nigeria had to fight back to draw 2-2 courtesy of a late equaliser by skipper Joseph Yobo.
Striker Ikechukwu Uche put Nigeria ahead after 27 minutes, but Ethiopia star striker, Saladin Said, fired two goals in the 45th and 50th minutes to unnerve the Eagles.
Sunday’s match at the National Stadium will kick off 4pm Ethiopian time, which is 2pm Nigerian time.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

After falling off football map in famine and civil war, Ethiopia on cusp of World Cup history

JOHANNESBURG — In African football, it's usually the unexpected marvels that capture the world's attention.
In 1990, it was Cameroon's stunning win over Argentina and its subsequent path to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, highlighted by Roger Milla's iconic hip-wiggling dance at the corner flag. In 2002, it was Senegal defeating world champion France at the showcase tournament, prompting fans to slaughter cockerels, the French mascot, on the streets of Dakar.
Now, Ethiopia is just two games away from achieving another feat that once seemed inconceivable — simply reaching the 2014 World Cup.
What a story that would be.
Champion of Africa in 1962, Ethiopia fell off the football map for three decades. Civil war ravaged the country, and terrible famine killed nearly half a million people in the early 1980s.
Sport still played a part in the country, as world-beating runners hardened by poverty and high altitude continued to come out of Ethiopia. After barefoot Abebe Bikila won back-to-back marathon golds at the 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo games, successive generations of Ethiopian Olympic champions inspired the next. But there were no longer any Ethiopian footballers of any great renown.
There still aren't — although that could be about to change.
To become one of five African teams that will travel to the World Cup in Brazil next June, Ethiopia must beat current African champion Nigeria in the qualifying playoffs. The first match is this coming Sunday in Addis Ababa Stadium. The return fixture is Nov. 16.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, has played in four of the last five World Cups. It can call upon stars including Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, Liverpool's Victor Moses and players from the Italian and Spanish leagues.
Ethiopia has never played in football's showcase competition. Its appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations this January was its first at a major tournament in 31 years. And few outside of Ethiopia will have heard of Saladin Said, its top player.
The striker has made the biggest mark — if it can be called that — of any player on Ethiopia's national team by playing for Belgian club Lierse. A couple of other squad members play in Libya and Kazakhstan. Ethiopia is the only team that coach Sewnet Bishaw, a schoolteacher, has ever managed.
But sport loves underdogs and the World Cup loves African success stories.
Milla became a global star in 1990 at the age of 38 as his Indomitable Lions shook world football, and Senegal went on to reach the quarterfinals in 2002 after beating old colonial power France in its first World Cup. In South Africa three years ago, Ghana provided one of the most gripping story lines as the entire continent rallied behind the Black Stars on their march to the knockout round in the first World Cup held in Africa. Having reached the quarterfinals, only Luis Suarez's infamous deliberate handball on the goal line and Asamoah Gyan's subsequent missed penalty that rebounded off the crossbar prevented Ghana from becoming the first African nation to reach the semifinals.
The passion for football in Ethiopia easily matches those West African nations.
At the African Cup this January, Ethiopia fans unfurled a banner that read: "We're sorry for our behavior but we love the game." That was after supporters hurled plastic bottles onto the field, furious at a straight red card shown to Ethiopia's goalkeeper for a flying chest-high kick on a Zambia striker.
To reach the last 10 African teams in the World Cup playoffs, Ethiopia came through a qualifying group containing 2010 host South Africa, Central African Republic and Botswana. It also overcame being docked three points for fielding ineligible midfielder Minyahile Beyene while he was suspended.
Sellout crowds in Addis Ababa drive the team on. What players lack in technique they make up for with endurance.
This is a country of runners, after all, although sometimes it only takes a single event for a sport to take a larger foothold.
In 1980, around the last time Ethiopia qualified for a major football tournament, future Olympic distance running champion Haile Gebrselassie was 7 years old. He stole his father's radio and ran into the fields around his home to listen to commentary from Moscow of Miruts Yifter winning the 10,000-meter gold at the Summer Games. That day, Gebrselassie decided that he, too, wanted to be an Olympic champion.
If they get past Nigeria, it could be Saladin and his teammates leaving a similar legacy next year in Brazil.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Haile Gebrselassie smashes course record of Great Scottish Run as thousands race through Glasgow - Daily Record

THE 40-year-old double Olympic gold medal winner showed his class as he stormed home in a stunning 61 minutes and nine seconds.

Haile Gebrselassie
Haile Gebrselassie

Jeff Holmes
OLYMPIC great Haile Gebrselassie stayed true to his word as he stormed home first in the Great Scottish Run half marathon today - and in doing so smashed the course record.
The 40-year-old Ethiopian crossed the line in Glasgow Green in an incredible 61 minutes and nine seconds to take first place and set a best-ever time for a half marathon on Scottish soil.
Scotland's Susan Partridge, from Oban, won the women's race with a time of 70 minutes and 36 seconds, one place ahead of compatriot Freya Ross and with fellow Scot Steph Twell coming home in fourth.

But it was the performance of Gebrselassie which stunned the crowds who lined the streets of Glasgow city centre.
Ethiopia's king of the track told yesterday how he wasn't ready to give his feet a restdespite an incredible career.
And after today's feat, the double Olympic gold winner told the BBC: "Today was really wonderful. I am so happy. It was a perfect set-up. I didn't expect this kind of weather."
Earlier in the day the 10K wound its way round the city centre with Callum Hawkins, from Elderslie, taking first place and Beth Potter winning the women's race.
And the fun all started on Super Saturday as thousands of youngsters took part in the junior run, mini run, family mile and toddler dash races.

Great Scottish Run: Brave little Anna is fun run's big winner as weekend of action gets underway

Video: Records set and new heroes made in the Great Scottish Run