Inspirational story

World champion in the small town of East Africa

The East African country of Ethiopia, the small town of Bekoki, is known for its excellent long-distance runners. One long-distance runner is born in this small town with a population of 17,000. Seven of them won medals at the Olympics and they won. 16 Olympic medals, including 10 gold medals.

In Bekoki, people from all walks of life like to wear running shoes. In the store, people often get together to watch the track events, and the competitions with Ethiopian players are particularly attractive.

Compared with long-distance runners in other parts of East Africa, Bekoki players have some special features. Country life makes the Bekoki people stronger and harder, which is very important for long-distance runners.

Bekoki is an ideal training ground for long-distance runners. The altitude here is more than 2,743 meters, the plateau air is thin, the players are trained here, and the advantage is obvious when playing in low altitude areas. The forest here is also suitable for practicing long-distance running: the players are used to twisting in the forest and it will be easier to play on a flat field.

Most of the famous long-distance runners in the town were trained by the coach of Sitayehu Ashto.

Long-distance runner Dratur Tulu is the apostle of Aishtu. In 1992, she won the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics and became the first African black woman to win gold at the Olympics.

Her success motivated other players, and the children took home a medal and the Bekokeys were very proud of it.

The young players trained on the stadium and sweated in the undulating wilderness. Ashto asked the disciples to develop good eating habits and rest well without training. Drinking and dating are strictly prohibited.

Nearly 40% of Ethiopia's population lives below the international poverty line, and running gives them the possibility to escape poverty. A successful marathon player earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, including sponsorship fees, tournament bonuses and appearance fees. After earning money, many players returned to Bekoki to do business.

"They want what they want most is victory, not income," coach Ashto said. "I train them to get them to win, not to make money."

As a celebrity in the town, Ashto insists that this has not brought any changes to his life. He still receives a monthly salary of $115 from the government, and he often runs on the streets of Bekoki. He is still proud to see players from the town playing around the world. He said: "Run makes me happy!"

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