Abebe Bikila Foundation to be formed

Addis Ababa – A new foundation in honor of Abebe Bikila, the first Ethiopian and black African athlete to win a gold medal in the marathon at the Olympic Games, is being formed here reported the Addis Ababa-based weekly Amharic newspaper, the Ethiopian Reporter.

The newspaper said that an organizing committee made up of the Ethiopian National Olympic Committee, Ethiopian Athletics Federation, the Ethiopian Sports Commission and members of the Abebe Bikila family has decided that the foundation will be formed on March 27, 2011.

A marathon race commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s barefoot victory at the Rome Olympic Games will also be held on that day. Although the marathon race is reserved for club athletes, a 10km mass participation run and a 3km race for physically challenged athletes will also take place. Initial estimates indicate that up to 10,000 runners will participate in the three races.

Bikila’s victory anniversary was celebrated in Rome, Italy this past summer, where a street has been named in honor of his remarkable victory. In Ethiopia, a photo exhibition was held and a new Abebe Bikila tombstone was also erected here in the capital

The organizing committee said that profits from T-shirt sales will go to the Abebe Bikila Foundation. There are no words as to whether this is going to be a one-time event or an annual competition.