Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ethiopian history-maker wants to run for Britain

June 5 - An Ethiopian who last year was the first athlete from his country to win a medal in the Paralympics wants to run for Britain after seeking asylum in the country following London 2012.

Wondiye Fikre Indelbu won the silver medal in the T46 1500 metres but afterwards stayed in Britain, claiming that he would face persecution from the Ethiopian Government if he returned home because he and his family supported an illegal political party.

Having moved from London to Huddersfield he is now living in Middlesbrough, where on Sunday (June 2) he took part in his first race since the Paralympics, finishing third in the Riverside Run 5k event in 14min 45sec.

Indelbu, 25, claims he was nine when he lost part of his arm and an eye after Government troops attacked his village in Chole in the Oroman region of the country, where there is a strong independence movement, and threw a hand grenade into his house.

Wondiye Fikre Indelbu crosses the line second in the T46 1500m at London 2012 behind Kenya's Abraham Tarbei and ahead of Algeria's Samir Nouioua
"I couldn't return back to my homeland," he told the Northern Echo.

"As I am now seeking asylum I can't go back to my homeland because the Government know about me and I expect to be sent to prison or they may hurt me, or even kill me.

"If I am to go back to my country I expect them to kill me.

"I have represented them a number of times, with them not knowing I was a member of that party.

"I won't expect to return to my country."
ndelbu is currently facing a series of hearings to decide whether he can stay in Britain, which would be the first step on the road to becoming a citizen and one day representing the country.

"As I was the first Paralympic medalist for my country, it was a great pleasure for me in London," he told the Northern Echo.

"It was a chance that I may not get again.

"It was a special occasion and a special moment to run before 80,000 people in the stadium.

"I'm appealing to the court here and I hope to be a UK citizen and I want to represent the UK in competitions from now on."