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“When you wake up in Ethiopia, you run…. I wanted to be a swimmer” – Robel Habte says after coming last in Men’s 100m Freestyle at #RioOlympics2016



Robel Habte

Robel Kiro Habte

Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte, nicknamed “Robel the Whale” who ranked 59th out of 59 participants across the heats in the Men’s 100m freestyle at #RioOlympics2016 has said that he is proud to have competed as a swimmer at the olympics.

Speaking to REUTERS, the 24-year-old university student said “I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics. So thanks to God”.

Habte’s entry for Rio was secured on a special invitation from world body FINA extended to athletes from under-represented countries.

Habte, whose father is the president of Ethiopian Swimming Federation said that it wasn’t about winning, but about competing.

“I wanted to do something different for my country, that’s why I chose swimming. Everybody, every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn’t want to run, I wanted to be a swimmer. It didn’t matter where I finished,” he said.

Though he faced backlash on social media, Some Twitter users also celebrated him for making it to the Olympics:

Photo Credit: REUTERS

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