Ethiopia: Renowned Athlete Motivates Street Children to Better Themselves

Ethiopia: Renowned Athlete Motivates Street Children to Better Themselves
The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa)

2 May 2008
Posted to the web 2 May 2008

Menase Kifle
Addis Abeba

World renowned Ukrainian pole-vault record holder Sergey Bubka visited a rehabilitation centre for rebellious street children here in Addis Ababa in an effort to motivate the children to embrace sports as a means to better themselves.

Sergey Bubka who is also senior Vice President of the international Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) presented facility with indoor sports equipment such as board games and sports shoes provided by Nike to the children and discussed with them on various advantages of sports and how best to exploit it.

He said it was imperative that they try their utmost to best themselves in sports for a better and healthier living.

His visit was facilitated by Sport-The Bridge, a local foundation that takes care of children who have absconded from their homes to the streets.

Addisu Seifu, a volunteer at the foundation said the NGO tries within a one year period to rehabilitate them back into the society through sports and counselling.

Bubka, who is chairman of the youth Olympics in Singapore, expressed his pleasure in the work that sport-the bridge was doing and added that it was everyone’s responsibility to instill athleticism in children.

"These children have been through tough times and yet they still have such a remarkable spirit about them" Sergey spoke on the subject of athletics and said that it was a great pleasure for him to visit Ethiopia and that he was a fan of various legendry Ethiopian athletes such as Abebe Bekila , Haile Gebresillasie , and Kenenisa Bekele.

"Ethiopian Athletes have great talents and personality and are a great treasure of Ethiopia" Bubka commented on his aim for children saying "I want to continue to promote sport and Olympic movement because I sincerely believe that the problems we have in society and the world at large can be solved through the greater understanding that sport brings" In February Bubka won the coveted laureate lifetime achievement award in recognition of his contribution to grassroots sport and he is planning to visit a number of sports establishments over the course of the next year in a bid to encourage more young people to take up sports and to offer his support to sporting initiatives world wide.

Sergey Bubka is also a member at the Executive Board of the international Olympic Committee (IOC) and senior Vice President of the international Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). He came to Ethiopia in connection with the 16th African championships being held here in Addis.


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