May be the name Sibhatu Kesete does not ring a bell to many Eritrean Sports fans.
Eri-Internationalsports.org recently had a lengthy discussion with this amazing young man as he made his way to the USA on a visit to participate at the Los Angeles Marathon. To know Sibhatu is to know the resiliency of the Eritrean people as he exemplifies the true spirit of a strong human being.
It was during the border war that was waged on Eritrea that Sibhatu paid dearly. He along with many other heroes sacrificed so much. Some of his colleagues even gave up their lives. Sibhatu after the Ethio-Eritrea war pursued a career in sports as he became a world-class Paralympic Athlete. A very humble man he had a passion for challenging himself and inspiring others. Starting from a very young age, he had a desire to compete in endurance sports which was not popular yet in Eritrea at the time. His nationalism for the Eritrean nation can be compared for his high desire in taking on new challenges. With that in mind whatever curveballs the game of life throws his way, he takes it head-on with the Eritrean can do spirit.
After suffering a spinal cord injury during the Ethio-Eritrea border war in the year 2000, Sibhatu made a decision to turn towards competitive sports . He trained for hours and with the emergence of professional athletes in track, field and long distance running in Eritrea, he saw an opportunity to represent his beloved country of Eritrea in the Paralympics as he started to make an impact in the sport. Here are just some of his results including a 1st place finish this past year in the great city of Stockholm.
DATE - EVENT - PODIUM
1/2003 - Disabled Day Marathon- 2nd
2/2005 - Massawa City Marathon - 1st
5/2005 - Independence Day Marathon - 1st
2/2006 - Massawa City Half Marathon - 1st
5/2006 - Independence Day Marathon - 1st
11/2006 - Marathon Day - 1st
2/2007 - Massawa City Half Marathon - 1st
5/2007 - Independence Day Marathon - 1st
5/2008 - Independence Day Marathon - 1st
11/2008 - Disabled Day Marathon - 1st
5/2009 - Independence Day Marathon - 1st
DATE -EVENT - PODIUM
3/2005 - Berlin Half Marathon - 2nd
4/2016 - Hamburg Marathon - 2nd
3/2017 - Los Angeles Marathon - 11th
11/2017 - Philadelphia Marathon - 4th
05/2019 - Harmony Geneva Marathon for UNICEF - 2nd
06/2019 - Stockholm Marathon - 1st
03/2020 - Los Angeles Marathon - 15th
Sibhatu will also make history as the first Eritrean Paralympian as he gets ready to participate in the 2021 Olympics taking place in Tokyo Japan. He is currently training in United States where he has been stuck since the COVID-19 epidemic broke out soon after he participated in the Los Angeles marathon. Thanks to kind people within our Eritrean community, Sibhatu has been able to stay with them moving from city to city. His stay in the USA has enabled him to train on his own while also understanding the finer points of the sport. It is important to understand that as Eritreans if there is a time to support anyone it is today as our hero who gave up his body for the defense of our nation needs us. We will be a part of his success in Japan. See Poster for all information on where and how to donate. Thank you EPLF/Higdef vision pal talk and all those who have gone the extra mile to make an impact for our paralympian.
His biggest challenge so far are the resources to afford a racing wheelchair and the accessories that come with it. He covers all traveling and lodging expenses for himself and his helper on his own. Let’s help Sibhatu get to the Tokyo Olympics, as he makes history. We are Eritreans and we are determined to make him the first Paralympian Eritrean to make history at the Olympics!
Help this young man by donating to this very worthy cause. Together we will start a wave for all other athletes like him to follow and participate in the Paralympics. For those who may not be aware, Paralympics is a competition event created with a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with different of disabilities. The main events are held every 4 years alongside of the olympic games. In 2001 the International Olympic Committee(IOC) and theInternational Paralympic Committee(IPC) signed an agreement which guaranteed that host cities would be contracted to manage both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.