April 15, 2008
"In a few years, Sudan is going to be on a par with Kenya and Ethiopia as a running nation."
You read it here first.
Darfur athletes train on as Olympic row rages
By Andrew Heavens
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A world away from the political rows over China and the Olympic Games, a young Darfuri man crouches down at the start of a cracked and pitted running track in the capital of Sudan.
He is Nagmeldin Ali Abubakr, a 21-year-old from Nyala in southern Darfur, and one of Sudan's main medal hopes for the Beijing Games.
Western celebrities and activists have been pushing for Olympic boycotts and protests against China for its alleged failure to press Sudan to end more than five years of killing in Darfur, as well as over its human rights record in Tibet.
But Ali and a small group of other Darfuri athletes are focusing on their training and hoping the run-up to the Games will go as smoothly as possible.
"I have heard some stories. But they don't really concern me," said Ali, taking a break from training in his country's half-built athletics stadium, made of crumbling concrete blocks still spiked with metal construction rods. "We are all Sudanese and I am running for Sudan."
The only thing on Ali's mind right now, he says, is the 16 weeks of training ahead of him before he gets to meet the world's best 400 meter runners in Beijing's gleaming new 'bird's nest' National Stadium in August.
Actually, you read it here second. Here's Rob Crilly's post on the same story.
Posted by aheavens at April 15, 2008 7:03 AM