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IAAF org.: Sihine - the domestic Lion starts to roar abroad

2004 World Athletics Final winner


Tuesday 12 October 2004 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - In Ethiopia, the term ‘domestic Lion’ is often used to refer to the country’s national soccer team which has a strange tendency to win matches at the high-altitude of Addis Ababa stadium only to suffer some of football’s worst defeats outside its borders. But when told that some people label him as Ethiopian Athletics’ domestic Lion, Sileshi Sihine, who is a devoted soccer fan, smiles and says, “But I also win outside Ethiopia!”

2004 World Athletics Final winner
Sihine’s reason for self-defence is fully justified. He has just returned to Ethiopia after taking his first ever 5000m race win outside his country when recording 13:06.95 for victory in the 2nd IAAF World Athletics Final in Monaco.

“There had been one reason or the other (why I hadn’t won at 5000m before),” he explains. “I had many problems like physical and mental readiness for certain competitions. But I believed that Monaco would not be too difficult for me and I was ready physically as well."

2003 World bronze and All-Africa and Afro-Asian titles
In the last fifteen months, Sihine who has a three-year unbeaten record in Ethiopia has tried to shake off the ‘domestic lion’ tag. After his 2003 World Championship 10,000m bronze in Paris last August, the 22-year old won his first track race on foreign soil over 10,000m at the All-African Games in Abuja, and repeated this with a another at the 1st All-African Games in Hydrabad, India in October last year. Last year’s Great Ethiopian Run (10km) and his impressive role in the Ethiopian team title at the Chiba Ekiden (Marathon relay) also advanced his winning reputation.

Olympic silver ...

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