[OLYMPIC TORCH CEREMONY – CAPE TOWN]
INTRO: South Africa is competing in the Olympic Games for the fourth time since re-admission in 1992.
Yet, 12 years on, the team remains unrepresentative of our society.
Special Assignment looks at why black South African athletes, and women
in particular, are not yet world class, while under-developed countries
like Kenya and Ethiopia have long-dominated distance running.
[SOUND UP: STREET SCENE – ADDIS ABABA]
Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world.
There are few options here when it comes to making a living.
[SEWING MACHINE GOING UP AND DOWN]
[MIX WITH RUNNERS LEGS]
Yet this impoverished nation has produced some of the world's greatest runners.
The latest sensation is 22-year-old Kenenisa Bekele, expected to take double gold at the Athens Olympics.
[SOUND UP: JANET'S TAPE]
[TITLE] RUNNING ON EMPTY
a report by Jessica Pitchford
[GBRSELASSIE TRAINING – ETHIOPIA4]
Bekele took the world stage by storm in the five and ten thousand metre
events, the records were held by another Ethiopian, Haile Gebrselassie.
Bekele calls Gebrselassie his mentor.
The "emperor of the track", as he's known, is still amongst the top ten athletes in the world.
He was born in the Ethiopian Highlands, home to most of Africa's tallest mountains.
And that is part of the key to success.
[ETHIOPA 1B – 01 17 13 15]
KNOW WHY BECAUSE THE PLACE WHERE I WAS BORN, THIS REGION IT'S VERY GOOD
FOR LONG DISTANCE RUNNERS BECAUSE IT'S HIGH ALTITUDE. IT IS ABOUT 3000
M ABOVE SEA LEVEL. THAT IS REALLY VERY IMPORTANT FOR LONG DISTANCE…
He grew up in a poor family.
His transport was his legs.
14 03 06] WHEN I WAS A KID YOU KNOW I USED TO RUN ABOUT 10KM TO SCHOOL
BECAUSE THE PLACE WHERE I LIVED WAS A BIT OUTSIDE TOWN AND I USED TO
RUN TO SCHOOL AND BACK HOME EVERY DAY.
[01 32 48 19] WHEN I WAS IN
THE COUNTRYSIDE I LIVED IN A VERY PRIMITIVE SYSTEM. WE AT THE TIME WE
HAD NO ELECTRICITY, WE HAVE NO WATER.
[BREAKING RECORD – 1996]
although his running talent has almost made him a citizen of the world,
he hasn't been lured away to better facilities, better training and
perhaps a better life.
[01 27 34 04] THIS IS MY HOME. I DON'T
WANT TO LIVE IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY EXCEPT ETHIOPIA. THIS IS MY HOME
TOWN. I HAVE TO SHARE ALL MY PROBLEMS. I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING WITH MY
PEOPLE. I DON'T THINK ANYONE ACCEPTS ME LIKE ETHIOPIA. THE ONLY COUNTRY
THEY ACCEPT HAILE IS HERE IN ETHIOPIA. PEOPLE THEY LOVE ME HERE, BUT
WHEN I GO TO AMERICA OR EUROPE, THIS IS HAILE – HE IS DOING IT FOR HIS
COUNTRY. UNTIL I DIE I LIKE TO LIVE HERE. I WANT TO SHARE ALL THE
PROBLEMS. I WANT TO SHARE ALL THE GOOD THINGS.
Running at his level requires a huge amount of preparation.
35 19 23] EVERY DAY WE TRAIN 20 TO 25 KM IN AVERAGE AND ESPECIALLY WE
TRAIN IN THE FOREST, WE GO TO THE MOUNTAIN AND WE HAVE TRAINING IN THE
STADIUM AND WE ARE PREPARING VERY GOOD, VERY WELL.
[MORE TRAINING SHOTS]
He's accepted the rise of other athletes like Bekele, with whom he trains.
Both will be running the ten-thousand metres in Athens.
25 47 07] I KNOW PEOPLE THEY WANT TO HAVE GOOD RESULTS FROM HAILE. I'M
NOT A MACHINE. ONCE I BECOME A OLD MAN – NOT OLD – BUT WHEN I BECOME
NOT GOOD ENOUGH, I KNOW THAT. IT'S HAPPENED FOR ALL SPORTS PEOPLE. IT'S
[10 000M – FILE]
It's happening for women athletes in Ethiopia.
Berhane Adere is the ten-thousand metre world champion.
Tirunesh Dibaba will seek to become the first Ethiopian female to win an Olympic five-thousand metre title.
The current record holder is a former Ethiopian, running for Turkey.
Elvan Abeylegesse set a time of 14 minutes-24-point six eight seconds to break the world record this year.
[SOUND UP THIS RACE]
[CORA&FLIP – TAPE 5 – T/CODE BREAK – 01 48 22 21]
and movement studies expert Professor Cora Burnett says one of the
reasons Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes are so successful is because
running is part of their culture.
[PROF CORA BURNETT/RAU – 01 36 32
02] I DID RESEARCH AT THE ALL AFRICA GAMES IN 1999 IN JOHANNESBURG AND
ALSO IN ABUJA IN NIGERIA. AND WHEN YOU SPEAK TO THEM, THEY ARE LOOKING
AFTER THEIR ATHLETES IN THE SENSE THAT THEY GIVE THEM THAT BELIEF, THAT
BIG THING OF THE CULTURE. IT'S OUR CULTURE – THEY BELIEVE THEY HAVE TO
BE ABLE TO DO IT.
[01 36 57 10]ATHLETES ARE MADE AND NOT BORN. NOW
THOSE ATHLETES ARE BORN WITH THE GENETICS, BUT THEY ARE ALSO MADE IN
THAT THEY ARE SOCIALIZED INTO ROLES OF BEING AN ATHLETE. THEY ACCEPT
THAT FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE AND OBVIOUSLY THEY'VE GOT THE BELIEF THEY
CAN DO IT. AND THEN THEY'VE GOT THE SUPPORT.
[AD BREAK] After the break, is there enough support for South African women?
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