Establishment of Sports Academy in Ethiopia


Establishment of Sports Academy in Ethiopia

I have read the article that was posted on Aiga Forum regarding the establishment of sports academy in Ethiopia, proposed by Eyassu Ephraim.

Please allow me to say few things about our athletes before commenting on his article.

I am really thrilled with our Ethiopian Golden Girls, namely Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar , and Tiki Gelena who made us proud and walk the streets of any major metropolis with heads up. To those who won gold medals, I take my hat off to them for the performance they have demonstrated competing against the best of the best and surging on top. The trifecta of gold medal winners, Tirunesh, Meseret, and Tiki, are the creme of the crop.

And to those who are new to the first Olympic games, tried their very best but did not win any medals, don't give up hope. You are leaving this event with wealth of experience under your belt, that will definitely propel you to become the best competitor in the year 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De janeiro, Brazil.

Having said that, as Eyassu have suggested I support his proposal to have some kind of institution where our athletes can be trained in all fields of events to achieve the skills necessary to compete in international level. In order for this idea to grow and develop quickly top officials must play great role in participating, and demonstrating, the use of sports to our youngsters by hiring the best coaches , and accommodating their training facilities with the state of the art training equipment.

As you all recall in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympic games in Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, and, Beijing respectively our athletes have shown to the world that they were superior in events they had participated in, such as marathon, 10 km, and 5 km races.

At this 2012 Olympic Games I was wondering why Ethiopian athletes were shut out of winning the 10 km, and 5 km, races that they were accustomed to than any one else. Is this because Mohamed Farah of Great Britain was a better runner than them, or is there something else contributed to his success as it happened in the past to Ethiopian athletes, such as the likes of Abebe Bikila, Mammo Wolde, Miruts Yifter, Haile G/Selassie, Deratu Tulu and Kenenisa Bekele?

I am not envying Mohamed Farah, rather I am very delighted for his success in capturing gold medals in both events.The reason Ethiopian athletes lost to Mohamed Farah was because of the quality of the coaching staff he had under the legendary Alberto Salazar, who himself was also a great marathon runner who knows the art of running like the back of his hand.

Ethiopian athletes won in the past, to these events that they have been accustomed to, due to their legendary coach Dr. Woldemeskel Kostre. Like Alberto Salazar he was also a great runner with likable personality, who mastered the art of running, and coaching inside out. Thus his style of coaching had earned him admiration, and respect, from all athletes who successfully raised their winning performance to the highest level of excellence in the last four consecutive Olympic Games competitions.

This time mysteriously Dr. Woldemeskel is no where around to encourage and motivate them. These young athletes who were accustomed to that type of paternal caring love, seem to have missed the motivation, and encouragement they got used to previously, to successfully defend the title that was bestowed upon them in the past.

In order for future Ethiopian athletes to show good results in any international competition, they have to have dedicated, and devoted coaches who put the interest of trainees ahead of any thing else. They have to convince higher officials of the government to start up athletic training in all field of activities from grade school ( first grade on up) . The Ministry of Education has to start making up schedules , where elementary schools students can compete every year with an other elementary school students, secondary schools versus secondary schools, and universities versus university students.

In my generations we used to have that kind of competition in all school levels every year, and that is the way it was then. It has been a long time since I left Ethiopia, and nowadays I do not know for sure how the set up of the current athletic education in all school levels are measured up to the past. If I am wrong please correct me, and my sincere apologies for the gaffe.

By doing this, students can start participation at early age, and have the potential of excelling beyond expectations in any athletic events of their choice with out difficulties. That is how developed nations are being able to recruit athletes from high schools on up , and universities to compete and amass medals in all activities. If Ethiopians are given he same kind of opportunities, I see no reason under this clear blue sky why they can't participate and win in short distance races, such as 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, boxing, jumping, etc., besides marathon, 10 km, and 5 km.

Ethiopians can be able to participate in ball games as well if young students start playing at an early age, be it Volleyball, or Basketball. We have tribes in southern part of Ethiopia who are close to 7 feet tall. If physical education course is incorporated with their regular academic courses, students will have the potential of mastering the art of playing these games at the international level, even against the tall, and powerful National Basketball Association( NBA) players.

In order for Ethiopians to excel in any athletic competition in the future , they have to have unequivocal support of high government officials, well trained coaches, and the state of the art training equipment. The availability of the state of the art training facilities and equipment, can maximize their training potentials, and minimize the number of hours spent for training to achieve the desired goal.

Finally I wish all Ethiopian athletes the best of luck in the coming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de janeiro , Brazil.

God Bless you all.
Assefa Abebe

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