July 27, 2012

The 2012 Olympics: From Eritrea, a Legend and a Newcomer

The 2012 Olympics: From Eritrea, a Legend and a Newcomer

by Dexter Padayachee | Long-distance and road runner Zersenay Tadese, 30, is Eritrea’s biggest medal hopeful during this year’s Summer Olympics, after winning the country’s first Olympic medal in 2004 at the Athens Summer Olympics. He is also the first Eritrean to hold a World Championship title after winning the 2006 IAAF 20-kilmoter race.

Tadese’s most promising run is the half-marathon, which has brought him a lot of success thus far. He is the current half-marathon world-record holder with a time of 58:23, set in 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. Tadese also adds to his running profile the title of being the second man to win three World Championship medals over three different surfaces in the same year. He is indeed a legend in Eritrea, and is recognized internationally as a great athlete. During this year’s London Summer Olympics, Tadese will compete with Kenenisa Bekele for the title in the 10,000m race.

Tadese’s career has improved tremendously since his first appearance on the international circuit in 2002 at the World Cross Country Championships. He currently has seven gold, three silver, and three bronze medals to his name. The combination of Tadese and Bekele, along with other promising African long-distance runners, could quite possibly bring all the medals back to Africa in the 5,000m and 10,000m events at this year’s Olympics.

Also part of the Eritrean Olympics delegation is cyclist Daniel Teklehaymanot. He will be the first cyclist representing Eritrea at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Tekehaymanot has done exceedingly well in races in Eritrea and in the African championships, becoming one of the most dominant cyclists on the continent.

The 23-year-old shows much promise for Eritrea, as he continues to improve; he had an impressive finish at the Tour de l’Avenir, finishing sixth overall. According to Cycling News, he is quickly making a name for himself on European circuits as part of the Australian team, GreenEDGE. Even though he will be racing against more experienced cyclists, Teklehaymanot is seemingly an athlete to look out for. His rapid growth and fore coming merits will definitely put him in a better position to claim a medal at the next Olympics.

We remain hopeful that Daniel Teklehaymanot will place and gain recognition from his, and his country’s, first Olympic appearance at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

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