Ethiopian Athletes ,who won gold medal at the Oregon World Championship but did not celebrate with parents because of the war in North Ethiopia, reunite with loved ones in tears of joy
Derartu Tulu, president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, on Tuesday, led a delegation to Mekelle. The Federation said the purpose was to reunite Ethiopian athletes from the Tigray region of Ethiopia with their parents.
They were unable to meet their parents for two years because of the war between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Ethiopian Airlines flights resumed to the region only two weeks ago after the two sides reached a peace agreement in Pretoria South Africa in November 2022.
Apart from Derartu and the athletes, many other executives of the Athletics Federation were included in the trip to Mekelle. Fetlework Gebregziabhier, who is still described as deputy president of Tigray regional state against the spirit of the peace agreement in South Africa, greeted them on arrival at Alula Aba Nega airport in Mekelle.
Video footage published by DW Amharic and pictures released by the Federation shows a tearful reunion of the athletes and their parents at the Airport. The parents and the Athletes were seen weeping.
Gotytom Gebreslase, marathon Gold medalist in the women’s category at the World Championship in Oregon, Gudaf Tsegaye, Gold medalist in the five thousand meters category and Letesenbet Giday Gold medalist in the ten thousand meters category were among the athletes that were reunited with their parents.
Derartu’s delegation turned the social trip into a working one. According to the report by the Federation, a discussion was held between the delegation and Tigray region officials. Hopeful athletes from the region are said to be impacted by the war. Facilities in the region were damaged.
The region’s sports office demanded the Athletics Federation do something in terms of rebuilding facilities and helping hopeful athletes from the region. And the Federation is said to have pledged support.
Derartu and her entourage also met with Debretsion Gebremichael, TPLF leader and “president of the Tigray region.
“Before everything else, I would like to thank Derartu on behalf of the people of Tigray and of my own. She used to call me and beg me to avoid escalation and going to war. She reflected on her strong stance on peace by asking me to forsake it for the sake of the people.” Debretsion Gebremichal said.
The war is believed to have claimed the lives of over one million people.
Many Ethiopians who are active on social media platforms reacted cheerfully to the reunion between the athlete and their parents.
The athletes have remarked about their feelings. Letesenbet Giday says the occasion made her even happier than the days she broke a world record.
They are hoping, and asking, that peace will take root.
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