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  • Bekoji: Little Town of Champions

    The village of Bekoji, in the highlands of Ethiopia, has produced long-distance runners who’ve won 16 Olympic medals in 20 years. What explains this remarkable success?

    “Running is in my blood,” says Tolo Debele, feeding his 3-month-old boy Dawit in his gated compound in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. “It’s changed everything in my life.”

    The long-legged 32-year-old is wearing a pair of bright-blue running shoes with shock absorbers on the heels, provided by his sponsor, Nike. A competitive marathon runner, he’s raced in Asia, Europe, and America. But his wife Askale Tafa has him beat: Their massive dark-wood cabinet in the living room is packed with sparkling trophies, mostly hers. Fifth place, Boston; third place, Dubai; second place, Berlin.

    Not long ago, Tolo and Askale were living a very different life: herding cattle and farming in Bekoji, the pastoral, grain-producing town in central Ethiopia, several hours south of Addis, where they grew up. They moved to the capital to join a large urban running club, but they’ve maintained their ties to Bekoji, capitalizing on their athletic success by opening a hotel back home.

    Read more at TheAtlantic

    Video: Town of Runners Trailer

    “Running is in my blood,” says Tolo Debele, feeding his 3-month-old boy Dawit in his gated compound in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. “It’s changed everything in my life.”

    The long-legged 32-year-old is wearing a pair of bright-blue running shoes with shock absorbers on the heels, provided by his sponsor, Nike. A competitive marathon runner, he’s raced in Asia, Europe, and America. But his wife Askale Tafa has him beat: Their massive dark-wood cabinet in the living room is packed with sparkling trophies, mostly hers. Fifth place, Boston; third place, Dubai; second place, Berlin.

    Not long ago, Tolo and Askale were living a very different life: herding cattle and farming in Bekoji, the pastoral, grain-producing town in central Ethiopia, several hours south of Addis, where they grew up. They moved to the capital to join a large urban running club, but they’ve maintained their ties to Bekoji, capitalizing on their athletic success by opening a hotel back home.

    Read more at The Atlantic.

    - See more at: http://www.tadias.com/03/04/2014/bekoji-ethiopia-little-town-of-champions/#sthash.7lOtMWnP.dpuf
    Read more »
  • Great Ethiopian Run: video

    More than 37,000 people take to the streets of Addis Ababa in one of the most colourful of the world's running events.

    Streets normally crammed with cars are not allowed, and the entire city is taken over by boisterous, good-spirited runners in one of the world's most running-crazy nations.

     Essentials

    Registration for the 2014 Great Ethiopian Run, to be held on November 23, is now open for international runners. For more event information, see greatrun.org/Ethiopia

    You can travel to the race with Ethiopian Airlines (0800 635 0644; ethiopianairlines.com), which will have daily flights from Heathrow to Addis Ababa from July 8, when a new Tuesday evening service is added.

    Return fares in March from £490, including taxes. Visitors to Ethiopia need a visa; for details see ethioembassy.org.uk. For the latest advice on health precautions, see the National Travel Health Network and Centre website: nathnac.org. Guidebook choice: Ethiopia by Philip Briggs (Bradt).

     click here to watch the video

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  • Dibaba and Aman carry Ethiopia’s hopes in Sopot – IAAF World Indoor Championships

    Ethiopia will send 11 athletes, including two reserves, to the IAAF World Indoor Championships next month in the Polish city of Sopot.

    The outstanding gold medal favourite – not just for the Ethiopian team, but arguably of the whole championships – is Genzebe Dibaba.

    The reigning world indoor 1500m champion has been in incredible form this year, setting world indoor records* in each of her three outings.

    At the start of this month she smashed the world indoor 1500m record with 3:55.17 in Karlsruhe. Five days later, she took six seconds off the world indoor 3000m record with 8:16.60 in Stockholm. Little more than a week later, she set a world indoor best for two miles with a storming 9:00.48 run in Birmingham.

    She will not defend her 1500m title in Sopot. Instead, she will focus on just the 3000m as she seeks to add another gold medal to her collection.

    Ethiopia’s other reigning world indoor champion, Mohammed Aman, is also on the team. The world 800m champion indoors and outdoors is undefeated this year and leads the 2014 world indoor lists with his African record of 1:44.52.

    Mekonnen Gebremedhin, 1500m bronze medallist in Istanbul two years ago, and world 3000m leader Hagos Gebrhiwet are among Ethiopia’s other medal contenders.

    source: iaaf.org

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  • Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba sets third record of the month

    Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba set her third world best in 15 days by shattering the indoor two-mile record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix.

    The 23-year-old's time of nine minutes and 0.48 seconds eclipsed Meseret Defar's mark by almost six seconds.

    Dibaba, sister of three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh, already owns the world 3,000m and 1500m  indoor records.

    The Ethiopian was expected to better compatriot Defar's time of 9:06.28, set in Prague in 2009, and did so convincingly, despite slowing towards the end.

    Her feat is a world best rather than a world record as the two miles race is not an official world record event.

    Dibaba, who is also the sister of Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba, broke the 3,000m world indoor record by 13 seconds on 6 February. That record in Stockholm came just five days after she had set the 1500m world indoor mark in Karlsruhe, Germany.

    source: BBC

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  • Sewnet Bishaw '100% confident' of comeback

    Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw has vowed his men will give whatever it takes to overturn a first-leg defeat when they take on Nigeria in their World Cup play-off on Saturday.

    Ethiopia hope to continue their surprising World Cup journey when they face Nigeria in the return leg, despite a 2-1 loss at home in mid-October.

    Sewnet told BBC Sport: "This is the biggest match of my life. I want to win it. I'll fight to the maximum.

    "There's no problem in my squad. All of my players are fit and the mood in the camp is very high. Everybody is waiting for the kick-off whistle."

    Nigeria won the first leg in Addis Ababa courtesy of a brace from Emanuel Emenike and the Super Eagles are clear favorites to book a place at next year's tournament in Brazil, which would be their fifth appearance at finals.

    However, Sewnet is confident his side can come back.

    "I'm 100% confident of overturning the result. I'll only play for a win. Football involves a defeat and a win. We're defeated in the first leg doesn't mean we'll be defeated in the second leg," he said.

    "I've not finished the match. I've 90 minutes left to play. I'll fight for a 2-0 win or for a 2-1 to take it in to extra-time. So, I want to remind them that it's not over yet."

    Sewnet revealed he will leave it until the last moment possible to select his side in the quest to take the east Africans to their first finals.

    The big boost for Sewnet is the return of his joint top scorer, Getaneh Kebede. The striker missed the first leg of the play-offs because of an ankle injury.

    "The return of Getaneh is really great news. I've seen him in training. He's fit and will definitely have a role in the battle" Sewnet said.

    Source: BBC

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