Marathon, so to speak, is the most anticipated, competitive and demanding of all the athletic competitions. And many see it as a measure of endurance and strength. Athlets need to push themselves to their limit, and sometimes even beyond as one commentator said, to win the race in the marathon category. Just finishing the race is a joy in itself for many athletes. Even those who win the medal barely able to walk right away.
Kenya’s Eulid Kipchoge was in the ground after winning his Rio Olympic gold medal in Marathon in a time of 2:08:44.
Twenty six years old Feyisa Lilesa finished second to win a silver medal for Ethiopia. As he finished the crossing line, he raised his fisted hands up in the air and crossed them in rather a mood of resistance, not celebration.
Hundreds of millions of people have seen his junctures but perhaps only Ethiopians could understand as to what his hand gesture are meant.
Feyisa Lilesa was telling a political story with his hand gestures – a story about killings of civilians in by the ruling ethnic minority regime in Ethiopia and the resistance to it. Feyisa Lilesa is from oromo speaking parts of Ethiopia, one of the two regions of Ethiopia where government killed hundreds of Ethiopians. In the past nine months alone, more than 800 Ethiopians are killed in the Amhara and Oromo speaking parts of Ethiopia.
Here after, at least athletics lovers who happened to watch Rio Olympic marathon race could understand the situation in Ethiopia.
Very likely that the regime in Ethiopia could arrest and/or ban Feyisa Lilesa if he decided to go back to Ethiopia. And if it happens, one asylum giving country could get a marathon runner while Ethiopia will only be sorry about it.