NEW YORK WEATHER

The men’s T13 1500 metres Paralympic final has been spreading around the world for the fact of four athletes having ran faster times than the one that crowned the Olympic Champion in the same distance (3:50.00).
Despite how incredible this might seem, it’s not everything that  occurred in that race, and probably not the most relevant.

In the final stretch, Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse approached the winner (Algeria’s Abdelatiff Baka) to the point of being side by side with him. Then, when the spectators waited for a victory with a margin of milimetres, the Ethiopian raises his arms above his head and crosses them in the form of an “X”. Slowing him down considerably, this form of expression might have cost him the gold medal, but also have made him a carrier of a message.

Unfortunately, the Paralympics aren’t as widely broadcasted as the Olympics, so that message is more difficult to get through.To be more explicit, Demisse was repeating a form of protest which had already been used by the Olympic Marathon silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa, also from Ethiopia.

This protest is against the massacre suffered by the Oromo people, an ethnic majority in the country which is suffering with  the pressure played by the government. This involves the death and jailing of hundreds of people in the Eastern-African country.

Olympic Games are an event with the aim of bringing the world together through sport. The gesture Ethiopian athletes have replicated as a form of protest is, in my opinion, far from just a way of creating agitation.
Actually, the courage they had to show their thirst of peace in their homeland in front of the cameras in the biggest sports event in the world is a remarkable feat.If it wasn’t for them risking their own well-being the world wouldn’t have become aware of what’s happening in Ethiopia.

The point of an athletics blog is not to take political sides, but truth is that these words are written in the website of the Olympics:
“The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.”

Then, what can we expect to result from these public requests for help?


(Photos: Yasuyoshi Chiba – AFP / Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports)

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