Haile donates 1.5 million birr to national COVID-19 campaign


Ethiopian athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie has donated nearly 1.5 million birr to a committee set up to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The Covid-19 National Resource Mobilisation Committee was launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia, where there are currently 21 reported cases.
“It’s not time to profit but to save lives,” said Haile. “We need to support the government at this crucial time and support one another.” “This is a very different time we are win. Everything’s locked down and sporting events have been cancelled all over the world, so we have to be able to support our community.”
Haile donated one million Ethiopian birr from a range of his businesses while half a million birr came from the Great Ethiopian Run, which was founded by the two-time Olympic champion.
The Mobilisation Committee is tasked with gathering funds and materials to assist with emergency preparations to fight the pandemic in Africa’s second most populous nation, with over 100 million inhabitants.
Haile joins other African sportsmen, like Senegalese footballer Sadio Mane, in using wealth gained from their sporting careers to help their home nation’s battle coronavirus.
Now 46, Haile is Ethiopia’s most successful and celebrated sports personality – having won Olympic 10,000m gold in 1996 and 2000, as well as four World Championship titles over the distance between 1993 and 1999.
Aside from his track and road success, the former marathon world record holder is an accomplished businessman with businesses in, amongst others, the hospitality, automobile and agriculture sectors. Earlier this month, he told the BBC it was ‘heart-breaking’ for athletes to have trained for races only for them to be cancelled because of the coronavirus.