Ethiopia’s ‘town of runners’ tries to outpace pandemic

first_imgTopics : “It will encourage our athletes to work hard and motivate them to prepare for their own competitions.”The marathon is the latest sign of a return to normalcy for Bekoji’s runners after pandemic-related disruptions. For much of this year, hundreds of youngsters in Bekoji vying to emulate the town’s stars — household names like Derartu Tulu, Fatuma Roba and Tirunesh Dibaba — have seen their dreams put on hold. But in September Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government declined to renew Ethiopia’s state of emergency, meaning group training could resume. Training solo In normal times, runners in Bekoji spend each morning transforming the town’s eucalyptus forests into a sprawling training ground.As women gathering kindling look on, the athletes weave through the trees while their coaches take them through high knees, straight-leg bounds and other drills. But this hallowed terrain where Bekele started training as a teenager sat largely empty after Ethiopia recorded its first Covid-19 case in mid-March.”When Covid showed up we thought it would be over within one week or two weeks. When the cases started to increase is when we started worrying,” Fatiya said. Fatiya did her best to ensure her athletes’ training regimens wouldn’t be completely derailed. Though she could no longer meet with them in person, she drew up individual programs and kept in touch with them by phone. “I told them that coronavirus is a killer, but we shouldn’t be neglectful of our training. We have to defeat the virus with our relentless effort,” she said. The changes brought challenges, said 17-year-old Sada Adem, who qualified for nationals this year in the 1,500-metre competition. Fatiya’s phone calls were helpful, Sada said, but they were “not the same” as in-person instruction that allows a coach to correct problems with form as soon as they arise. Sada also missed running with her friends. “When you train as a group, you compete with your teammates and you get encouraged,” she said.  Just eight months ago, 16-year-old Hanna Awugichew believed she was well on her way to becoming Ethiopia’s next elite runner, having qualified for a national competition in the 400-metre dash.But the coronavirus pandemic threw an obstacle in her path, prompting officials to cancel the race and, under a nationwide state of emergency, place restrictions on how athletes could train.”We had prepared for the competition and trained well, but we couldn’t compete because of coronavirus, and that was very disappointing,” said Hanna, adding she had been “very excited to win”.center_img Bekele’s corner Bekoji’s distance-running prowess is legendary and was even the focus of an award-winning 2012 documentary by Jerry Rothwell titled “Town of Runners”. Yet residents struggle to pinpoint the reasons for the town’s success, suggesting it could be due to the altitude — which tops 2,800 meters — or perhaps a local diet rich in wheat and sorghum.These conditions, however, are hardly unique in Ethiopia, a distance-runner’s dreamland with no shortage of high-altitude routes.Another explanation, at least for the town’s younger runners, is a desire to follow the lead of those who have already achieved fame.That’s why coaches like Fatiya are so eager to see the resumption of high-profile events like the London Marathon after a months-long hiatus.Anticipation for Sunday’s race extends beyond Bekoji’s running community.It will also likely mean big business at Tola Cafe, one of just two places in town offering satellite television so patrons can watch live.Zeray Eshetu, a waiter at Tola, said he expected electric energy during Sunday’s face-off between Bekele and Kipchoge.”People become really emotional when an Ethiopian athlete wins the competition. They clap, they jump, they shout, they take off their shirts and spin them around,” he said. Bekele faces tough odds against Kipchoge, who has won the London Marathon four times.But Hanna, the 16-year-old aspiring 400-metres star, said she believed Bekoji’s hometown hero would triumph.”In this race, our athlete Kenenisa will win,” she said. “I say this with full confidence.” It’s a common story in Bekoji, a town 225 kilometers south of the capital Addis Ababa that is renowned for producing running stars who have collectively bagged some 18 Olympic medals.  On Sunday, Bekoji’s favourite son, five-time world champion Kenenisa Bekele — himself winner of three Olympic golds, will face off against Kenyan icon and marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon.Fatiya Abdi, who coaches Hanna and around 40 other girls in Bekoji through an organization called Girls Gotta Run, hopes the event will shake her athletes out of their pandemic funk.”The race in which Kenenisa will compete will motivate the townspeople and the athletes,” Fatiya said. last_img read more

Calling America! Women’s overseas squad set for season

first_img19 Feb 2020 Calling America! Women’s overseas squad set for season Caley McGinty is eager to come in from the cold and turn up the heat with her England colleagues in the women’s overseas squad.McGinty is named today as part of a four-strong squad for the 2020 season comprising of golfers currently studying at colleges in America.Annabell Fuller, Amelia Williamson and Hannah Screen are also included in the set-up – Fuller and Williamson both studying at colleges in Florida with Screen on campus in Oklahoma.England Golf is keen to support golfers who choose to combine their sport with educational opportunities abroad as well as those talents who remain at home.McGinty is a key member of this squad and, perhaps unusually, she has chosen not to chase the sun in the States.This week, McGinty has been braving sub-zero temperatures  while she combines studying Sports Administration at Kent State University in Ohio with her golf.But the 19-year-old Gloucestershire county player is loving life across the pond.She believes it will stand her in good stead for another competitive season as an individual and – hopefully – as part of the women’s squad going forward.McGinty said: “Right now the temperature outside is -11 degrees. Not ideal for getting on the golf course!“But we have great indoor facilities where I can really work on my game. Anything I want to practise, I can do on our campus.“There’s a range, short game areas, SAM putting lab, all the Trackman equipment.“There are about 20 of us in the squad and we all push each other on.“We do travel for events as well. Last week I was in Los Angeles and I have been at tournaments in New Mexico and Tennessee.“It will be nice to get back home this summer to play some events and hopefully get to represent England.“It’s always special wearing that England crest.”Along with the women’s squad of Lily May Humphreys, Emily Toy, Mimi Rhodes and Charlotte Heath, the overseas group will come into the selectors’ thinking for various team events throughout the season.England’s women will defend their Home Internationals crown in 2020 and target success in European and World Team Championships.Women’s Performance manager, Rebecca Hembrough, said: “Our overseas players can take advantage of world-class competitive opportunities and at the same time enjoy priceless life experiences which can only be of benefit when they join up with national squads.“This semester we will support them remotely and look forward to bringing them together at the National Performance Centre at Woodhall Spa in June before the domestic summer events unfold.“There are many English players in the States currently and we’ll be keenly following performances for the next few months.”McGinty, pictured in England action above, is eager to play her part in a successful campaign having started the year representing her country on the international stage in the South American Amateur Championship.The trip to Santiago in Chile proved to be a worthwhile one for McGinty who finished in a tie for third.She added: “Playing in Chile was a great experience.“It was really, really hot and coming from an Ohio winter that was hard to adjust to at first.“I didn’t know what to expect and I played pretty well tee to green, but my putting let me down a bit.“Overall, though, I was happy as it was first event since October and I learned a lot.”McGinty has a full schedule at college and admitted her nerves at making the move away from home have been eased as she adapted to life away from the comfort of her family.“I was a bit wary at first as I’d not really been away from home all that much and didn’t know about the way of life,” confirmed McGinty who is a member at Knowle Golf Club in Bristol.“I didn’t decide on college in America until quite late in the day.“There was a thought that going somewhere warm would be nice – the chance to play in some heat.“But I got a strong feeling about Kent State and it has a really good reputation.“I’m studying Sports Administration. Obviously, I want to go as far as I can as a golfer, but I want a career in sports of some sort and doing this course gives me that option.“I didn’t expect it to be quite as full on as it is.“I’m busy all the time but getting to play or practise golf every day is a great thing.”Women’s Overseas SquadAnnabell Fuller (aged 17) – University of FloridaCaley McGinty (aged 19) – Kent State UniversityHannah Screen (aged 20) – University of OklahomaAmelia Williamson (aged 19) – Florida State University Tags: Amelia Williamson, Annabell Fuller, Caley McGinty, Hannah Screen, Women’s Overseas Squadlast_img read more

Enrique Iglesias Partners With Save The Children And Omaze For Hurricane Relief

first_imgFollowing the devastation of hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, Miami-native Enrique Iglesias is partnering with Save the Children and online fundraising platform Omaze, to raise funds for those affected.Proceeds raised during this campaign will go toward Save the Children’s efforts as they respond to the unique needs of children and families affected by the storms. Enrique is a long-time partner of the organization, and after riding out the storm himself at his home in Miami, he is dedicated to helping others in his hometown and beyond recover.To encourage his fans to get involved, Enrique will be offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience where two lucky donors will receive VIP tickets for them and a guest to attend an Enrique and Pitbull concert. The winners and their guests will be flown out to either Miami or Houston where they will attend the show, have a meet and greet with Enrique and stay in a 4-star hotel. For only a $10 donation, fans can enter to win this incredible experience at with both winners being announced upon the campaign’s closing. Airfare, hotel accommodations for 2 nights, and a $500 VISA gift card will be generously covered by Live Nation.Save the Children is responding by working in emergency shelters, child care centers and schools to distribute essential supplies and set up safe spaces for the children who have been most affected. They will also be distributing emergency grants to help local child-serving organizations and programs recover quickly. In Puerto Rico, they are in touch with federal authorities and established partners on the ground and stand ready to meet the specific and unique needs of those impacted by Hurricane Maria.“Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria have taken a tremendous toll on communities across the United States and in the Caribbean,” said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children President & CEO. “During disasters like these, it is children who are the most vulnerable. Save the Children is on the ground offering kids and families the support they need during these times of disruption and uncertainty. That is why the funds being raised through this campaign are so valuable.”last_img read more

Arrests in Burnaby BC as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

first_imgBURNABY, B.C. – The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a court injunction to dismantle a protest camp and snuff out a sacred fire at a site where the Trans Mountain pipeline ends in Burnaby, B.C.Cpl. Daniela Panesar said police began enforcing an order obtained by the City of Burnaby last week from the B.C. Supreme Court.An update posted on social media by the detachment said 11 people were removed from the site known as Camp Cloud.“Five were subsequently arrested and have since been released from custody,” the post said.Police said in a news release that a family of three living at the camp was being helped to acquire emergency shelter.Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman, who works with the Watch House group that has an Indigenous protest site near Camp Cloud, said she understood the arrested demonstrators promised to stay away.“The folks agreed to sign the terms and they were released,” she said in a phone interview.Officers moved in after continuing to talk with camp residents in the hope that they would obey the injunction and leave within a 48-hour deadline set by the court, the RCMP said in a news release.That deadline passed Sunday and protesters at the camp said Monday they were prepared to protect a sacred fire, which has been burning since the camp was set up late last year. They also said they planned to tie themselves to structures rather than obey the injunction.B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Gomery was specific in the injunction that the fire needed to be put out because it was burning in dry conditions near an aviation fuel tank farm.Camp residents had refused requests to extinguish the fire despite the increasing risk of wildfires.RCMP placed a large exclusion zone around Camp Cloud on Thursday as the dismantling began. They said they would arrest anyone, including media, who violated the zone.“Our paramount concern is safety,” said Panesar.“We ensure that everybody is out of the exclusion zone and then the City of Burnaby can come in and start cleaning up the protest site.”City crews brought in heavy equipment into the camp shortly after the arrests and began removing belongings and bringing down structures.Dipak Dattani, Burnaby’s acting city manager, said crews were doing an inventory of any personal property, as well as of the structures on the site.“Once that is done, we will then start looking at dismantling. To give you a date or time, it’s hard for me to say right now because we just got on the site.”Hazardous materials, needles or other dangerous items were among the things crews were checking for before dismantling could begin, Dattani said.Peaceful protests are still permitted, but when public safety is threatened, the City of Burnaby has to act, he said.The nearby Indigenous protest site wasn’t included in the injunction application.The City of Burnaby allowed the Watch House to stay because it had already agreed to several key conditions, including removal of its sacred fire.“The city asked it to be removed so there was a proper ceremony with Indigenous elders and (the sacred fire) was removed until after the fire ban,” Berman said.Camp Cloud has grown since last November when opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion parked a single trailer at the gates of the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain.The camp grew to include two-storey structures, several vehicles and a makeshift shower.RCMP said that since March they’ve arrested 217 people under a court-ordered injunction that restricts protesters from within five metres of sites in Burnaby where work related to the pipeline expansion is underway.It has also become a rallying point for demonstrators opposed to the pipeline’s expansion, which would more than triple the amount of bitumen and other oil products moving from near Edmonton to Burnaby for shipping overseas by tanker.As opposition built against the expansion, the federal government offered $4.5 billion to purchase the project. Kinder Morgan is presenting that offer to its shareholders and expects the sale will be approved later this month or in September.The purchase price, which includes the existing pipeline, pumping stations, rights of way and the Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, does not cover the construction costs of building the new pipeline, previously estimated at about $7.4 billion.last_img read more

Margaret Ma Murray community school wins additional money from the Indigo Adopt

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN B.C. – Margaret Ma wins a place amongst four other B.C. schools for having a most loved story which was chosen from a draw, garnering the school an additional $500 to purchase more books.The results are in for 2018 Adopt a school program, an annual fundraiser to help high-needs elementary schools raise funds for their libraries to help improve childhood literacy.When you donate to a school during the Adopt a School program, every dollar you donate goes directly to the school of your choice. All participating schools get a 30 percent discount on books from Indigo, Chapters and Coles. During the fundraiser, schools are set up with a free online platform where supporters can donate directly. Margaret Ma surpassed their goal of seeking 340 books receiving 363 books, and in addition to the reward of achieving their book goal, the school won runner-up for the most loved story contest. This means five of the most voted for stories from the website were entered into a draw. The top story won $2500 in Indigo gift cards, and the four remaining runners-up received $500 in Indigo gift cards.Indigo Adopt a School program is an annual fall fundraising campaign that has been created by the Indigo love of reading Foundation established in 2004 by the Canadian company. Since the inception of the program, $1.1 Million books for over 600 high needs elementary schools have been donated.For a direct link to Margaret Ma’s online profile see HERElast_img read more

All members should abide by UN sanctions committees decision on Azhar UN

first_imgUnited Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed hope that all member states will abide by the decision of the sanctions committee of the world body which imposed an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar. The UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda on Wednesday announced the designation of Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), over its ties to Al-Qaeda. The JeM has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers and led to a spike in military tensions between India and Pakistan. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report In response to a question on Guterres’ reaction, his spokesman said: “This is the work of a well-established mechanism through the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council. It is a big part of the United Nations work in the fight against terrorism”. “It’s always good when all member states of the security council agree on something. We would of course hope that all member states abide by those decisions,” he said. The United Nations designated Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him. The US, France along with the UK had moved the proposal to designate Azhar as a “global terrorist” in the UN Security Council’s 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee in February. A Security Council member said that Germany, Belgium and Poland also co-sponsored the proposal, adding that there has been new unity and these three delegations also supported the proposal to list Azhar.last_img read more

Geno Smith Wasnt Better Than His Backup

In the most surreal bit of sports news to hit Tuesday’s wires, Geno Smith, the incumbent starting quarterback for the New York Jets, is going to miss six to 10 weeks with an injury. And it wasn’t just any kind of injury; it was the kind you get when a teammate punches you and breaks your jaw.According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, now-cut linebacker IK Enemkpali slugged Smith because he failed to reimburse Enemkpali for a $600 plane ticket. Jets fans — at least, Jets fans in the FiveThirtyEight office — rejoiced. But coming into the preseason, this Jets team showed at least a vague sense of promise. Are the Jets really better off without Smith? Last year, New York went 4-12 (3-10 under Smith) with one of the NFL’s worst passing offenses, and Smith was pretty bad for the second straight season. In fact, his career has gotten off to one of the worst starts of any QB since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Although Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw kicked off their careers with equally bad passing efficiency numbers, it’s far more likely that Smith is a talent on par with, say, Kyle Boller than that he’s harboring hidden star potential.And while Smith will be 25 this season, an age at which QBs still show a decent amount of improvement, the typical aging curve wouldn’t even carry Smith to league-average status at his peak.Meanwhile, the Jets’ backup quarterback isn’t a bad one. Longtime Buffalo Bills starter Ryan Fitzpatrick occupied the seat behind Smith and — statistically speaking — he’s probably a better QB than the man slated for the huddle, at least in the short term. Over the past two seasons (when he was with the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans), Fitzpatrick’s Total QBR1ESPN’s play-by-play-based measurement of quarterbacking performance, which grades on a 0-100 scale. of 54.1 was better than Smith’s 41.2 mark during that span, and Fitzpatrick’s cumulative ProFootballFocus grade of +11.3 vastly outpaced Smith’s total of -37.3. By the numbers, the Jets are better off with the glass-jawed Smith out of the game, holding a clipboard on the sidelines.Of course, these kinds of assessments always come with the caveat that individual football statistics are obscured by countless interactions, coaching decisions and other contextual factors. And the Jets did add a good receiver over the offseason, Brandon Marshall, so it’s possible Smith would have improved significantly in 2015 had he not run afoul of Enemkpali’s fist. But Jets fans shouldn’t worry too much about what might have been: The team’s offense will probably be better with Fitzpatrick under center than it would have been with Smith. read more

Football Tight end Kierre Hawkins departing from Ohio State

After two years in Ohio State’s program, redshirt freshman tight end Kierre Hawkins is leaving.An Ohio State spokesman confirmed Hawkins’ is “departing,” but said he did not know the tight end’s destination. Ryan Donnelly, a recruiting analyst for Rivals, tweeted a screenshot of a post from Hawkins’ Instagram in which he is wearing a Youngstown State jersey with the caption, “New beginnings. Everyone’s journey is different. In God’s hands.” Hawkins’ Instagram account is protected.Per his Instagram post, it looks like Ohio State tight end and former Maple Heights (Ohio) four-star Kierre Hawkins will be transferring to Youngstown State— Ryan Donnelly (@RivalsRyan) December 12, 2017A former four-star recruit, Hawkins has not taken a snap in his two years at Ohio State. He entered the program in a class with three tight ends, including Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann. Hawkins fell behind both Farrell and Hausman on the depth chart, as well as redshirt senior Marcus Baugh and redshirt sophomore Rashod Berry. The Buckeyes hold a commitment from Jeremy Ruckert, the top-ranked tight end in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Also, redshirt sophomore tight end A.J. Alexander, who missed the 2017 season with a knee injury, will return next season.Hawkins, a Maple Heights, Ohio, native, was the 329th-best overall prospect and the 13th-ranked tight end in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. read more

I have to blame myself Sami Khedira bemoans

first_imgAs you probably know, Germany has crashed out of the 2018 World Cup tournament but Sami Khedira believes his performances during their matches is quite ‘inexplicable.’Khedira’s performance during the match was below the standard which led him to be substituted but had side defeated by Mexico and South Korea.After a “perfect” preparation for the tournament, Khedira accepted that his performance have left him confused even after having a successful season with Juventus.‘My personal performance is still inexplicable to me today,’ Khedira told Bild. Top 5 Bundesliga players to watch during the weekend Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 11, 2019 With the international activity cooling down for the next month, we go back to the Bundesliga’s Top 5 players to watch next weekend.The German…‘Four weeks ago, everything was perfect. I played the best season of my career in Turin, scored nine goals and had very good performances in the Champions League.‘And then these two games happen to me. I have not experienced that during my entire football career and therefore I have to question myself, why this could be so. My team-mates and I have been quite rightly criticised very hard.’‘There are things I cannot explain. For example, why I could not get my performance in the two games, even though I was in good shape before.‘I sat right on the bench against Sweden and did not perform in the other two games that would have been necessary and that I expected of myself. I have to blame myself.’last_img read more