by Tedla Asfaw
“Marathon the Queen Marathon the Queen Abebe and Mamo Defeated the world” that was the number one song in
Ethiopia way back when I was a child. In 1960 and 1964 Abebe Bikila won gold and 1968 Mamo Wolde won the third gold in Olympics. The song celebrates, Marathon the Queen you were captured for the third time trying to escape from Ethiopia . Wining three consecutive Olympic Marathons by one country is still a record. Nobody can claim such victory in Olympics except mother Ethiopia.
However, the last time Ethiopians won Olympics was in 2000 Gold by Gezahegne Abrera and Bronze by Tesfaye Tola. The first Olympic gold for African woman was by Fatuma Roba in 1996, Atlanta. Since then it has been a disappointment for Africa and especially for Ethiopia. All this has changed on Rainy Sunday Olympics, August 5, 2012 in London.The rain and the meandering track has kept most of the elite runners in one pack for most of the race. It was a very close and tactical race.
On the last few miles three Kenyans and two Ethiopians distanced themselves from the pack and the battle to conquer London was in full rear. Aselefech Mergia was left behind and it is now Mare Dibaba and Tiki Gelana with three Kenyans. On the last few miles the Russian woman came to the lead pack with one Kenyan pulled back. Dibaba has also pulled back.
The hope of Ethiopia was only Tiki Gelana. The focused and elegant Tiki seems to understand her mission, bring the glory back home, thanks to the support of Ethiopians who waved Ethiopian flag and most likely from her niece Gezahegne Abera who might have whispered on her ear when she was chosen to represent Ethiopia. Gezahenge Abera was knocked on the pavement in 2000 Olympics in Sydney. That knock energized him to win Marathon for Ethiopia after 32 years Olympics drought.
By sheer coincidence Tiki Gelana was also knocked down in the middle of the race when she reached for water bottle but that did not stop her from her mission. She got back to the leading pack. She run with a sore elbow. That was a scary moment for all of us who watched the race. The last 400m Tiki took the lead for good and brought the Queen back home, Ethiopia Africa . Marathon the Queen is brought back home after “hiding” in Fatuma Roba’s home for 16 years.
The disappointment we had in 10,000m men final yesterday was replaced by high hope for more medals to come home. Make no mistake this year is Ethiopian women athletes year. Tirunesh Dibaba the best runner on the planet showed what Ethiopian women are made of by thrashing everyone on the track field on August 4 night in a packed Olympic Stadium. Tirunesh Dibaba not competing for most of the last years because of injury did the impossible. The Ethiopian flood is coming to London big time indeed Tirunesh Dibaba is the leader of Ethiopian Athletes. We love you Tiruye !!!!!
The 3000 m women steeplechase surely will bring us gold. We have Fantu in 800m. Tirunesh and Meseret will bring us gold in 5000m. With all these to come nothing will match what Tiki Gelana did today in rainy London. Like the rumbling River Gelana of Ethiopia she rumbles beside the Thames River and brought the Marathon Glory once more to Ethiopia.
We love you Tiki Gelana. You run with grace and beauty. You set a new Olympic Record, 2 hours,23 minutes and 7 seconds, you are the Ethiopian Queen in London, the whole Africa is proud of you. Our men young marathon runners will be inspired by your win and make us proud once more next Sunday. Winning both women and men Olympics Marathon is indeed possible. Let the party begins fellow Ethiopians
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