Gebrselassie, Prince of Asturias of Sports

The Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebrselassie has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, after beating the footballer Raúl González in the final vote of the jury, meeting in Oviedo.

After the first deliberations of the jury yesterday, there were finalists for today, in addition to Gebrselassie and the footballer Raúl González, the Spanish synchronized swimming team, the French cyclist Jeannie Longo and the joint candidacy of the mountaineers Edurne Pasaban and Reinhold Messner.

The jury explains in its minutes that it has decided to award the prize to Gebrselassie "For his sporting and human excellence". He adds that he is considered the best long-distance runner of all time and recalls that "his own people knew him as 'Naftanga', the boss."

"Raised on a farm, every day he had to travel twenty kilometers to go to school, a circumstance that served him as training and influenced his way of running: with his left arm shrunk by the weight of books," adds the jury.

He emphasizes that "he always ran the most demanding tests with a permanent smile" and that "until the end of his career he has been a myth challenging his own legend." "The athlete is also involved in humanitarian and mediation work in the many conflicts that have plagued Ethiopia for years," concludes the jury's minutes.


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