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Haile Gebrselassie

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2011

At its meeting in Oviedo, the Jury for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, made up of Mr. José María Abad Casamayor, Mr. David Álvarez González, Mr. Alejandro Blanco Bravo, Mr. Óscar Campillo Madrigal, Mr. Miguel Carballeda Piñeiro, Mr. Josep María Casanovas i Punti, Mr. Enrique Castro González, Mr. Joaquín Folch-Rusiñol Corachán, Mr. Julián García Candau, Mr. Ignacio Gómez-Acebo del Solar, Mr. César González Antón, Ms. María del Carmen Izquierdo Vergara, Mr. Jaime Lissavetzky Díez, Ms. Laura Martínez Martin, Mr. Javier Muñoz Gallego, Mr. Santiago Nolla Zayas, Mr. Juan Antonio Paredero Moreno, Mr. Josep Pedrerol Alonso, Mr. José Ramón Pindado Andrés, Mr. Matías Prats Luque, Mr. Julián Redondo Pérez, Mr. Ángel Rodríguez Berriguete, Ms. María Rodríguez Escario, Mr. José Sámano Bueno, Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs, Mr. José Javier Santos Rubio, Mr. Josep Lluis Vilaseca i Guasch, Ms. Theresa Zabell Lucas, chaired by Ms. Arancha Sanchez-Vicario Santacana and with Mr. Ignacio Martínez García acting as secretary, has decided to confer the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports on the Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebrselassie for his sporting and human excellence. Considered the best distance runner of all time, his own people called him “Naftanga, the chief”. Raised on a farm, he had to travel twenty kilometres each day to school, a circumstance that served as his training and influenced the way he runs: with his left arm crooked as if still holding his schoolbooks. He always ran the most demanding of races with a permanent smile on his face. Right up to 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 raged for years in Ethiopia.

Oviedo, 2nd September 2011

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