Saturday, May 6, 2017

Eritreans Daniel Teklehaymanot & Zeresenay Tadese: A weekend to remember in Italy.

Daniel is King of the Mountain in Italy.

Eritrean Daniel Teklehaymanot may be wearing the jersey of Team Dimension Data, from South Africa, but his incredible performance at the Giro d'Italia on Saturday proved why he has won a second king of the mountains jersey. Daniel broke barriers in the Tour De France in 2015 as he became the first African to wear that title. In a sport dominated by Europeans, Asians & Americans South & North, it became clear that someday African champions Eritrea would produce very competative cyclists that would compete in big events like this weekend’s Giro’ D Italia.

Daniel Taking over "1st place" in the Mountain Classification @ Giro D'Italia.

Team Dimension Data had two other riders finishing in the top 10 as well with a solid team effort which included Daniel’s outstanding performance. Meanwhile, Daniel seems to be doing well individually in other race classifications. It is to be recalled that his two wins in the Critérium du Dauphiné in the past have taught him well. He was using similar tactics as that event in France, to shine during this memorable weekend. His breakaways on stages 1 and 2, helped Daniel as he now leads an almost amazing high number of minor Giro d'Italia classifications. His accolades include intermediate sprints as well as combativity classifications to the 'Fuga Pinarello', as the rider who has spent the longest amount of time in front of the entire riding herd.

Daniel in the middle of race @ Giro D'Italia.

Daniel was proud to represent Eritrea and his team Dimension Data, while also sharing his win as a proud son of Africa. He recently lost his dad and this win was inspired by the love he had for his late father. Thousands and thousands of people in Eritrea and in the diaspora were glued to the TV and social media to follow the event live while the Eritrean national pride continues in the month of May which also happens to be Eritrea’s independence day.

Daniel is "King of the Mountain" at the 2016 Giro D'Italia.

Zeresenay makes a tremendous leap in the Marathon.

Also in Italy at the Monza Formula, One race course the official world record for the full marathon (26.2 Miles) was not broken but history was made by a Kenyan, while world record holder in the Half marathon (13.1) Eritrean Zeresenay Tadesse did not disappoint.

"The race was not officially sanctioned by the IAAF, due to variables like pacers entering mid-race and drinks being given to runners via mopeds." (Media Reports)

Three years in the making of this event, Nike spent a lot of time and money in an attempt to break the two-hour time which will help the company get more attention for its efforts to impress runners and customers by designing shoes that will help people run faster.

The World Half marathon Record holder Zeresenay Tadesse in Italy attempting to make marathon history.

Eritrean half-marathon world record holder Zersenay Tadese was a part of the Breaking2 project, which was also held in Italy as Eritrean Daniel Teklehaymanot was making cycling history in the same country that colonized Eritrea for many years. Oh! How times have changed and New generation of Eritreans are showing the world that they are the owners of their own destiny. 
It is to be recalled that Eritreans were not even allowed to go past the 4th grade of education during the Italian occupation. Today we are witnessing a partnership with Europeans and others in every sector of our society, thanks to the “Self Reliance” attitude of the quality leadership Eritrea possesses despite all obstacles.

Eritrea's first and only Olympic Medalist Zeresenay Tadesse.

Today’s running event started at 5:45 a.m. local time, but finished well off the pace. While 2 time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa was dropped after 50 minutes, Eritrean Zeresenay Tadesse outperformed his marathon record by attempting to stay strong as he and Desisa completed the 17.5 laps of the 1.5-mile Monza track. Zeresenay took off nearly four minutes off his personal best with a time of 2:06:51 while Desisa finished in 2:14:10.

This event held on May 6 took three years to become a reality. Nike chose these three men based on a series of physiological tests and research on nutrition, ideal weather and last but not least the type of gear that would help the athletes break the record. For the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge today was a historic day despite going over the 2-hour mark by 25 seconds. His official finishing time was 2:00:25.

50 years ago English man Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile on May 6th, 1954. At the time the World Record for the Marathon stood at 2:18:34. This historic event took place during a meet between British AAA and Oxford University at Iffley Road Track in Oxford. In what was considered a huge crowd 3,000 spectators watched as history was being made. Strong winds up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) before the event almost stopped Bannister from running until he decided to give it a go in the last minute. Today while Nike and the sport of running gained some much-needed attention, the state of Eritrea has also proven it is a nation of can do people. 

50 Years ago on May 6th, 2017 Roger Bannister broke the mile record.

Watch out for another great Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and the many up and coming runners that will be inspired by the likes of Zeresenay Tadesse and Meb Kiflezghi. Let’s not forget that Zeresenay continues to be the best half marathoner in the world as he attempted the marathon record today.

For Eri-International sports blog,

Mike Seium