[dehai-news] (The Herald, UK) Zersenay Tadese's humanity survives Scottish gales

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 10:52:28 EST

Tadese's humanity survives Scottish gales
  DOUG GILLON, Athletics Correspondent January 12 2009

HE may have been beaten into third place, but former world champion Zersenay
Tadese remains a champion in the eyes of his boisterous patriotic support.
He left Scotland with his reputation enhanced beyond all measure after the
BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross-country.

Tadese was feted by the Eritrean community near Glasgow's Red Road flats
after Saturday's race, despite the surprise of having been blown away in
50mph winds by Ethiopian Abebe Dinkesa in the 8.9 kilometre race at

Tadese and his colleagues arrived with two suitcases of traditional food for
team-mates who sought political asylum after last year's world championships
in Edinburgh.
It was the first time he had seen them since. He politely declined to answer
political questions, but there was no mistaking the warmth of his feelings
for his countrymen who have joined Shettleston Harriers.

They all ran against Tadese on Saturday as Fifer Andrew Lemoncello and
Central's Alastair Hay struck telling blows for Scotland.

The Eritrean contingent have dominated road, track. and country since their
defection, but the two Scots finished ahead of them this time.

The Eritrean Scots turned out in Shettleston strips, unaware that they
should have worn West of Scotland kit for the district event being run as
part of the international.

Desperately they changed on the countdown to the televised start, with
Tadese urging calm, and helping to transfer numbers, and pinning them onto
the alternative West kit. Afterwards he signed autographs for dozens of the
club's youngsters, and that evening, after a meal of his country's
traditional fare, he made an emotional speech in which he thanked the
Glasgow East End club for all they have done for his countrymen.

"He presented us with flowers and went home with a Shettleston fleece," said
the club's John Mackay who has been a key figure in ensuring the athletes'
adoption. He had been present at the intimate gathering. "He was treated
almost like a god," he said. "It was really moving."

Tadese, following his marriage on November 16, said he was about a month
behind in his training. He was caught cold when Dinkesa sprinted clear with
a kilometre to go, striking as soon as the ferocious wind was at his back.

The shrewd tactical move got the jump on the pursuit: Tadese, Kenyans
Mangata Ndiwa (former World junior champion) and Eliud Kipchoge (Olympic
5000m silver medallist), and Ugandan Commonwealth 10,000m champion Boniface

Dinkesa won by three seconds, with the other four in close order, but
powerless to make up the ground into the gale.

The Ethiopian ran an awesome 26:30 for 10k in 2005, but damaged an Achilles
tendon at the 2006 Worldcross event in Mombasa.

He is looked after by Jos Hermens, the Dutch manager of Ethiopian icons
Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie. Without him, Dinkesa might have
disappeared into the dusty oblivion of the Omoro farmland.

Hermens arranged physio, and aqua jogging sessions in Holland. "I invested
in my recovery," said Dinkesa. "I never thought my career was finished. This
was easy today."

Steph Twell, triple European champion and World junior 1500m champion,
finished a worthy fourth in the women's race. But hype about her future was
put in perspective by the winner, Linet Masai. They are both 19, and Masai
broke the world junior 10k record in the Olympic final.

"I'm not really satisfied with fourth," said Twell, having lost a place in
the final 300 metres. She described the effortless Masai as, "an amazing
talent . . . someone I'm going to race through my whole career, and the more
that I race her, I'm not going to be afraid to cover her."

Twell, whose mother's Paisley roots could yet result in a signing coup for
Scotland, added: "I didn't cover and go as quickly as the others when Masai
made her break. I worked hard up that hill Haggis Knowe and my legs were
slightly heavy. Then with 300m left I needed another injection of pace which
I didn't have. That's something I must work on."

Brendan Foster, the former Olympic medallist and European champion whose
company, Nova, promoted the race, counselled against drawing the wrong
conclusions: "Masai's best track distance is 10,000m, and having finished
fourth in Beijing as a junior, has already proven herself globally at the
highest level.

"I'm 100% certain Steph, if she sticks with the 1500m and doesn't rush too
early into becoming a 5000m runner, will come good by the London Olympics."

Ian Stewart, the Scot who was recently appointed head of Britain's endurance
running, was pleased with resurgent UK performances, like Andy Baddeley's 4k
defence. Scots Freya Murray and Laura Kenney, next two Brits not far behind
Twell, have chances of world selection for Jordan.

But Lemoncello, who does not wish to return from the US for the trials, must
consolidate his fine run here, second Brit behind Frank Tickner.

"I wouldn't commit to giving him a world place now," said Stewart. "He will
have to back that up. It's not a given at the moment. I like the way he ran
more aggressively. But he needs a little more grit when it gets harder at
the back end of the race, and more concentration."

         ----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2009
All rights reserved