ERITREA captures first ever Olympic Medal
Athens, Greece, - It's always a pleasure watching masters of their craft at
work, and such a moment occurred Friday night on the first full day of Olympic
track and field competition when men with long-distance motors lined up for the
final of the 10,000 meters.
At the finish, it was a victory
for East Africa with little-known Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea in third after
Kenenisa Bekele and Sileshi Sihine of neighboring Ethiopia who came across 1-2
Sihine gave Ethiopia its first 1-2
finish in any Olympic event. Tadesse, meanwhile, earned Eritrea's first Olympic
medal in any sport by doggedly hanging around the vaunted Ethiopians.
"Really, we have always been
friends with the Ethiopians,'' Tadesse said. "Now we are a nation. As we
are a new nation, we are happy. ... I can say I am very happy.''
Eritrea - ERI
Area: 48,528 sq miles
Language(s): Afar, Arabic, Tigre
and Kunama, Tigrinya
Summer Olympic Debut: 2000
A long narrow country in east
Africa, Eritrea lies on the southwest coast of the Red Sea. It borders Ethiopia
to the south, Sudan to west, and Djibouti to the southeast. It was an Italian
colony from 1890 to 1941, when the British captured it. Ethiopia annexed the
area in 1962. 30 years later, Eritrea crashed the annexation and emerged as an independent nation in 1991.
Eritrea was one of three nations
making its Olympic debut in 2000, along with Palau and Micronesia. It sent
three athletes to Sydney - all distance runners. None advanced from the first
round. Distance runner Mebrahtom Keflezighi left Eritrea for San Diego with his
family in 1987 and became a U.S. citizen in 1998. Representing the U.S., he
placed 12th in the 10,000m at the 2000 Games.
Eritrea probably won't win its
first Olympic medal unless Zersenay Tadesse, who finished eighth in the men's
5000m at the 2003 World Championships, runs the race of his life. And
Zeresenay did just that and captured Eritrea’s first ever Olympc Medal – Bronze
Source: NBC Sports, San Francisco