18 April 2013 - Haile Gebreselassie celebrated his 40th birthday this morning in his office. He was surprised by Derartu Tulu (the first black African woman Olympic gold medalist at the Barcelona Olympic in 1992), Worku Bikila (former Ethiopian athlete who has paced Haile on a number of races and his best man), Million Wolde (Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist) and the Great Ethiopian Run team.
Haile and his colleagues paid tribute to Boston Marathon victims.
Haile said “our thoughts are with the victims and all those affected by
these tragic events especially everyone in Boston and families from
around the world who have family members taking part in the race”. Tulu
on her part said “I made my debut marathon in 1997 at the Boston
Marathon and had special place for the oldest marathon in the world. I
was deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened at the Boston
Marathon and my thoughts are with victims and families“
7 questions for Haile at his 40th birthday
Q1: How old do you feel?
A: Only 20 years old, look at me I am very young
Q2: In your over two decades of experience which victory is special?
A: Sydney Olympic 10,000m gold medal, it was a neck to neck
victory with my long time rival and friend Paul Tergat. It’s the
Olympics and it was very close victory
Q3: Of all your investments in many sectors in Ethiopia which one is dear to you?
A: My School, because we are shaping human beings who lead their country in the future.
[Haile investments range from real-estate, gymnasium, Cinema, School, resort and agent for Hyundai cars in Ethiopia.
Q4: If you host a big party for your birthday which of the athletes are must invite?
A: Worku Bikila and Derartu Tulu
[The interview was made two days before Haile’s birthday and both of his ‘must invite’ friends came to surprise him.]
Q5: Have your children surprised you for your birthday?
A: Yes, few years ago I had a competitions a day before my
birthday and when I return they gave me a special silver plate with the
engraving ”We are proud of you dad!”
Q6: Looking back to Ethiopian Athletics who is the best Ethiopian athlete and why?
A: Abebe Bikila no doubt, he is an opener to Ethiopians and
an inspiration to Africa and the World. He also made his first victory
in Rome barefoot.
Q7: what is your next race and your one year racing plan?
A: I am running the Bupa Great Manchester Run on 26th May
2013 for the third consecutive year. Well, my plan now is to target the
masters’ world records and will start in Manchester.