My favorite athletes are always those who are very modest. The ones who are always proud of their background despite their status as internationally recognized athletes. I can name a few who are on my list in various sports from different parts of the world. Like Pele, Michael Jordan, Arthur Ashe etc... Last week at the IAAF world cross country championships, I became convinced that there is a new star being born and what makes it sweeter is that he is an Eritrean. He congratulated all of us Eritreans when asked how it feels to be a champion after upsetting another veteran world champion who beat him during the Greece Olympics in the 10,000 meter race.
“I just feel very happy and proud for all Eritreans,” the personable Tadesse said, just minutes after he was mobbed by a ecstatic group of fans who had traveled to Mombasa with hopes of witnessing what was previously deemed impossible.
As most of us know Zeresenai is a cyclist turned runner. He has only been running seriously since 2002. With his recent string of successes, He has been an inspiration to many Eritreans. He is the biggest star of the national running team that also took a surprising second place at the youth level in both men and women's competition and a respectable fourth place in the adult division.
“I just feel very happy and proud for all Eritreans,”
In the past couple of years Zeresenai's famous picture with him holding high the Eritrean flag around him at the Athens Olympics can be seen all over the place. You can see it on personal Cellphones, Computer screen savers, You tube video highlights just to name a few. His bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2004 Olympic Games was the first ever Olympic medal of any kind for Eritrea and will forever be engraved in our heads. Then came his World Road Running title in Debrecen last October which was was the Eritrea's first global title in any sport, and in Mombasa he brought home the biggest joy as he dominated his race from start to finish.
Thank you Zersenai for your hard work but most of all for representing those who fought and died so that we can all be proud of Eritrea.