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  • skateboarding competition in Ethiopia organized by Malta

     The first skateboarding competition in Ethiopia organized by Malta Guinness in collaboration with Addis Skate Park was held at Bisrat Gabriel behind Laptho Mall last Saturday in Addis Ababa.
    Over 15 skaters participated and the first round of the event that began with a skateboarding training session. The event, which was dubbed “Skate with Malta”, was organized for young Ethiopians and Diageo donated 50,000 birr to Addis Skate Park, the venue where the event took place.
    The three winners of the competition were awarded a cash prize ranging from 3000 birr to 1500 birr and a branded skateboard. The event was free of charge and was open to the public.
    Malta Guinness brand manager handed the prize to the winners of the competition who finished first to third. During the event, Abel Anagaw, the Malt Guinness brand manager, said: “This event is a great opportunity to engage with young people and promote healthy living in Ethiopia. This donation will enable the young community and all skate park users an opportunity to own and take care of these grounds.”
    Addis Skate Park was built by Ethiopia Skate in cooperation with Make Life Skate Life, a non-profit organization that works with local skateboarding communities around the world to create free of charge community-built concrete skate parks.
    A professional skater, Natan Eyasu, said: “Our vision is that youths from different backgrounds can come together to have access to free skateboarding facilities and this community can ensure that all members have the means and lead a healthy life.”
    Ethiopia Skate was formed in 2013 at the Sarbet parking lot in Addis Ababa. They have been working to empower youth in Ethiopia by providing access to skateboard materials and by creating skate spots. The communities consist of over 150 skateboarders in Addis Ababa and other small towns across the country, with many more eager to join.
    In April 2016, they teamed up with Make Life Skate Life and a team of over 60 volunteer skate park builders and skateboarders from around the world to construct Ethiopia’s first and only free-of-charge public skate park, Addis Skate Park.
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  • ethiopian sport news hirut guangul makes powerful gesture in 4 peat

    Guanhul became the first QCM four-time champion, but the moment became larger than just her athletic achievement on Sunday morning.

    “I like this race,” said Guanhul. “Four-time champion. I’m very, very happy.”

    After the race, the 24-year-old said the “X” is a way of protesting the human rights abuses that are taking place in Ethiopia. Guanhul’s simple action is a brave and powerful one that bypasses any language barrier.

    Hundreds of peaceful Ethiopian protesters have been killed or arrested by the Ethiopian military this year. Protesters have demanded equality for the country’s Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group that has felt marginalized by the government as it pushes them off their land before selling it.

    Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa held up an “X” with his arms as he won silver in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. The gesture has been used as a symbol of strength and peaceful resistance.

    Lilesa says he likely will not be able to return home after making the gesture of solidarity. The Oromos also have used the “X” as a sign of their protest.

    “The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe,” Lilesa said at an Olympic press conference. “My relatives are in prison, and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed.”

    Guangul joined the brave movement as she won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:44.25.

    She won her first QC Marathon in 2012, when she set the women’s open course record of 2:35.07. Guangul’s 2016 win earned her $3,000 in prize money.

    Guangul says she enjoys the Quad Cities Marathon, and is happy to be back at the race.

    Kenyan Bizuwork Getahun Kasaye (2:56.01, $1,500) placed second and Ethiopia’s Meseret Ali Basa (3:03.09, $1,000) was third.

    Jenna Fiorillo (3:16.03, $750) of West Cester, Pa., placed fourth as the top American finisher.

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  • Ethiopia’s Hajin Tola won the inaugural CanKen 5K road race in Mississauga

    The inaugural CanKen 5K road race was held on Sunday in Mississauga, Ont. in an effort to strengthen Kenya-Canada relations through sport, business and community. The 5K was dominated by the Toronto Olympic Club as the event attracted some of southern Ontario’s top talent featuring Kenyan and Ethiopian teams.

     

    At the front of the pack, Ethiopian Hajin Tola won in 14:45 and performed a political gesture crossing his wrists above his head in an “X,” done in solidarity with the Oromo people in his home country. The protest is the fourth such notable act by an Ethiopian at a race in the past month.

    How the protests got started

    Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa was the first to make headlines in August when he performed the protest in Rio in the men’s marathon. He feared for his life following the race as the protest was directed at the Ethiopian government.

    The protests are being done in response to the government’s displacing of Oromo people outside of Addis Ababa as the municipal boundary of the capital city is extended into neighbouring areas.

     

    Why the “x” gesture?

    The anti-government protest is meant to signify being handcuffed at the wrists. The Oromo people, with much of the population living in an area named Oromia, are the largest ethnic group in the Horn of Africa. As many as 500 people have been killed in the protests between November 2015 and June as reported by Human Rights Watch.

    Lilesa, the Olympic marathon silver medallist, performed the protest in Rio and said after the race that “If I go back to Ethiopia, I will be killed.” He has since arrived in the United States on a special skills visa and has not returned to East Africa though his family remains in Ethiopia. A GoFundMe page in his name has raised more than US$160,000 for travel and living costs.

    Also in Sunday’s race was Ebisa Ejigu who won the Quebec City Marathon at the end of August and also protested against the Ethiopian government. Ejigu finished fourth on Sunday in 15:04.

    At the Mississauga race, the first three positions were awarded cash prizes of $1,500, $750 and $500 in both the men’s and women’s categories. Jane Murage was the women’s race winner in 17:16. There were a number of notable figures on hand for the inaugural event including Deputy Kenya High Commissioner to Canada Ambassador Jane Onsongo.

     

    The 1K kids dash encouraged the next generation of runners to participate with a medal being awarded to all participants and trophies going to the top three finishers.

    The Toronto Olympic Club won the team trophy for fastest average time and Team Umoja won the largest turnout trophy. Team Umoja is mainly drawn from Kenyans living in Canada.

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