Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
By Aaron Maasho
It is not hard to notice Haile Gebrselassie’s huge popularity in Ethiopia. It emanates from pride over his illustrious career that saw him break 27 world records, as much as from who he is when not running.
With his ever-present smile and sarcastic quips, “The Emperor” — as he is affectionately known — has never shied away from charity work, as well as providing hundreds of jobs to impoverished locals in his numerous business ventures.
Having spent the vast part of his 20-year career on the track, Gebrselassie switched to the marathon and has never displayed signs of weakening, despite his 37 years.
Until this month, that is, when the wealthy athlete unexpectedly announced his retirement after a knee injury forced him to pull out of the New York marathon.
Ethiopia’s long-distance runners are among the best in the world, winning seven medals at last year’s Olympic Games. Generations of athletes have trained in the cool highlands of Asella but the weather there is changing, apparently as a result of climate change. There are now worries that this could have an impact on the country’s future runners.
For many young Ethiopians, this is where dreams are made. Internationally famous athletes like Haile Gebrselassie and Kenanisa Bekele have trained in these very parts.
from The Great Debate UK:
-Arvind Ganesan is the Director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country of about half a million people on the west coast of Africa, but is the fourth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.