Eritrean Nguse Amlesom captured commanding victory at Madrid’s San Silvestre Vallecana, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on the New Year eve, frustrating what could be the first Spanish victory in 13 years.
It’s Sunday morning in the out streets of Beit Gergish, just out of Asmara. Sitting behind the wheel of small import cars with engines revving are five young men & one woman staring each other down. Their feet poised over the gas pedals, they anxiously await the checkered flag to set them off to the abyss of speed racing. When the flag waves, the car is dropped into gear, the pedal is slammed to the floor and the cars are quickly off, screeching their tires and sending up clouds of dust.
Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie won the New York City Marathon, among the world’s pre-eminent long-distance annual running events, with a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 51 seconds, finishing over a minute ahead of Kenya’s Lucas Rotich, who took second place, and Somali-born American Abdi Abdirahman, who finished third. Although it was only his race debut and though confronted by challenging, windy conditions, Ghirmay’s time qualified him as the third-fastest runner in the marathon’s 46-year history. The 20-year-old Eritrean also made history as the race’s youngest-ever male winner, breaking the record previously held by Alberto Salazar (1980), Tom Fleming (1973), and Sheldon Karlin (1972), who all won as 22-year-olds.
Is there anything sweeter than honey? Pleasant saying are often compared to a honeycomb, which is sweet to the soul and a healing to the bones, says the wise king. Americans call their wives honey and in some villages in Eritrea children call their mothers Ma’aro, meaning “My honey”, until they get married and find another honeycomb to relish. So much so good. Now let’s come to the makers of honey, the honeybees! Which are everything but sweet, for their stings are painful and a swarm of angry bees can snuff the life out of a full grown person.
It is conventional wisdom to understand the existing strong bond between sport and military. Sport in the military is crucial to develop physical fitness, advance sprit, promote unity and harmony, instill discipline and relieve boredom. In Eritrea’s military tradition, sport is not a phenomenon which developed post-independence. Even during the armed struggle, after the strategic withdrawal of 1978 behind trenches of Sahel, especially North Eastern Sahel Front, sport was very popular. In the very challenging years of armed struggle three sport events were held in 1981, 1987, 1989. These particular junctures of time in the history of sports among the military during the revolutionary struggle magnify the popular sport legacy in Eritrea’s military tradition.
They couldn’t stop cycling, because the people felt it. Even as people were dying, cycling continued, it was the dream of the people.’ Giovanni Mazzola.
Asmara 7:30 pm. People are returning home; on foot, on a bicycle and by car. You are also homeward bound. Some streets are quite dark. But you have gotten accustomed to the situation. One more crossing of the street and you will be right home with your family. Whoosh! What was that? An unidentified flying object? A ghost? The spirit of God carrying a message of doom? NO. That was a bicycle. You didn’t have time to get even a shadowy glimpse of it. Phew! It was a close one.