17 July 2013

Ethiopia: Haile Inspires Nigerian Fastest Sprinter

A CNN report says when Haile Gebresilasse speaks people listen. The Ethiopian double Olympic gold medalist, who won the 10,000 meter title at four consecutive World Championships between 1993 and 1999, knows talent when he sees it.

So when Haile labeled Nigerian sprinter Obinna Metu "a bundle of talent who has a very bright future because he is ready to learn," people began to sit up and take notice.

Most of all Metu himself, who as the fastest sprinter in Nigeria is determined to emulate Haile's success: "I want people to be hearing my name, I'd love to be famous," Metu told CNN's Human to Hero series. I'm thinking of a way to develop my name and sports can help me achieve this. I want to let the whole world know that I exist."

Father figure

Metu and Gebrselassie's paths crossed at the G4S 4Teen Program, which Metu says is "all about helping the young athletes to develop their talent through financial back-ups."

The pair recently spent time together in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa where they hope to inspire the next generation of athletes.

But while hundreds of children watched on in awe it was Metu who was starstruck by Gebrselassie - a man he describes as a father-like figure.

"Because of his inspirational talks I'm able to withstand the challenges on the track - he gives me fatherly advice," said Metu, "He has made me understand that to become a great person in track and field or even in sports in general, you have to train your mind to cope with pressure."

Haile told the sprinter, "If you cannot handle the pressure then I don't think you can have the qualities to become a champion. I could tell that he was able to deal with the pressure and that's why he set so many records. To have him as my mentor is a great thing and will always live in my memory."

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