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Miruts Yifter, Ethiopian running legend, honoured at Toronto funeral

Olympic champion's body will be sent back to Ethiopia this week Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend dubbed "Yifter the Shifter" for his ability to power away from rivals, was laid to rest at a packed funeral in

Olympic champion’s body will be sent back to Ethiopia this week

Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend dubbed “Yifter the Shifter” for his ability to power away from rivals, was laid to rest at a packed funeral in Toronto on Tuesday.

Yifter, a distance runner who won two gold medals in the 5,000- and 10,000-metre events at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and won bronze medals earlier at the 1972 Munich Games, died at 72 after battling respiratory problems.

“He’s a national icon,” said Yonas Tadssa, a friend of Yifter’s who also hails from Ethiopia.

“He’s our hero.”

His victories put Ethiopia on the map in terms of running, and he’s still regarded as one of the country’s greatest athletes. Haile Gebrselassie — who still holds one of the world’s fastest marathon times — recently said he owes his entire career to Yifter,

Yet during his career, Yifter was criticized by Ethiopia’s former military regime for not winning gold medals at the Munich Games, and he was briefly jailed upon his return home. Tadssa said Yifter, who left Ethopia for Canada in 2000, wouldn’t have been able to live comfortably in his home country, something he said was a shame.

Instead, the great runner came to Toronto — a city that knows far more about hockey and baseball players than distance runners.

Tadssa said Yifter was never one to brag about his success. “He was just a simple, low-key person.”

When his running days were done, Yifter changed his focus to coaching soccer. Several of his former players attended his funeral.

Yifter’s body will be returned to Ethiopia this week.

His family members, who told The Associated Press that he was never treated with the dignity he deserved in Ethiopia, called on all Ethiopians to give him a heroic welcome when his body arrives in Addis Ababa.

With files from The Associated Press and Michelle Cheung

Review overview
  • Thomas December 29, 2016

    Highly respected brother Miruts Yifter, RIP
    Just like your name ‘Miruts’, you were also a miruts champion runner.
    All my best wishes and condolences to the family and friends of Mr Miruts Yifter.
    Happy new year to all and Rihus baal lidet to all our Ethiopian brothers and sisters.

  • k.tewolde December 29, 2016

    Look how time goes by,as a young kid I saw Miruts run through our neighborhood even when he was doing his everyday living, I thought he ran with ease and grace of a gazelle,he worked as a truck loader for my father,I knew him personally and he used tussle my hair and give me a smile and go about doing what he does- work hard. His discipline and work ethic is what earned him his notoriety. Unlike today,where toxic political fumes fill the air,back then everybody in town rooted for this prolific runner.God bless and let your precious soul rest in peace.You brought back my childhood memories.I have nothing but fond memories about you.

    • Simon G. December 31, 2016

      Brother k. Tewolde,
      I think I know you. I remember this guy during his days as a refaae and as a great runner. Anyways, keep up the civilized comments.
      Happy New Year!

      • Tesfazighi December 31, 2016

        Simon G,
        If Miruts was a refaE then your brother Kiros Tewolde would’ve been assistant refaE.
        And what do we make of your position, General chief of refaAt, based in Akeleguzay headquarters???? Just out of curiosity and my 2 cents as you put it!!!!
        A very Happy New Year to all our genuine Christian Habeshas.
        RuHus BaAl Lidet mis Hadish Amet to you all my beautiful people of Habesha/Agazi.

      • k.tewolde December 31, 2016

        Simon,Asmara was a small neighborhood from akria to godaif ,from tsetserat to geza kenisha,from capo polo to forovia……..everybody knew everybody,that nostalgic original city and the people who gave it its character simply disappeared into thin air and replaced with the people who are calling us today ‘Arabs,bandits,taliban…….’ you name it,isn’t that ironic? if my father was alive today,he would have called them Ruffiani! in Italian.Brother,I don’t know what the future holds,but I wish you a happy,healthy new year.

        • AHMED SALEH !!! December 31, 2016

          Name calling doesn’t kill you but do not forget 1975 , 1976 , 1977 when
          such kind of people who reside in EDAGA-ARBI terrorized the city of Asmera .
          I don’t care what anybody says , from the beginning my gut feeling sensed that I am dealing with non-Eritreans .


          • Ghesu December 31, 2016

            Hopeless ELF JASUS SHIFTA. No hope, no future.

          • Ghesu December 31, 2016

            May your evil savage allah rot you in vicious Islam HELL.

  • andom December 30, 2016

    But i do not get distructed from my message.u are nothing here, there , everywhere. U are hunted for life by ur twisted crooked nature. There is nothing like habesha, agazian,tigray tigrign hatewketew xilale tesfaxien. If u want to live in peace, be honest for honesty is virtue. Return and surrender all the land that u are trying to steal from amhara and eritrea first. That may help u earn some dignity although u are not used to it. Then apologise for all the lives lost due to ur recless actions. After that u may be forgiven and given a chance to live peacefully. To Those Dikalatat, god have mercy and relieve them from their chinket.

    • zeray December 30, 2016

      Wedi Halima savage evil Arab dog, go and fuck your dog Halima mother just the same savage way that your wild savage evil Yemeni dogs used to fuck her and then come back to us to preach about your savage evil the most vicious cancer Islam. You are the product of that savagery mating between your savage wild Yemjeni/Tigrayani dogs and no wonder you barking so wildly and so desperately you rootless immigrant savage moslem nomad Arab dog. You will soon be sent with your savage evil rootless stibnking moslem lowland immigrants to the gas-chamber for proper roasting and to properly rot in your savage evil moslem hell where you stinking savage moslems belong and come from in the first place.

        • Berhe Tensea January 1, 2017

          Thank you for taking action, Ahbay May dema don”t belong on this discussion forum.
          The disturbed, the mentally sick, and the ignorant must be restricted to Meskerem net.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! December 30, 2016

    Do you know a strong feeling of anger and anti-social behavior are signs of mental sickness ?
    Your instable mind to get furious for no apparent reason and to curse people randomly behind
    a screen indicates from extreme depression .
    The whole point is ; we shouldn’t ignore when serious matters begin to occur . It is health issues .

    • adhanom January 1, 2017

      It is just one mentally disturbed person or member of tesfa zikorexet higdef deliberately trying to drive every body away from assenna forum. If he is really mentally disturbed eritrean i hope some good samaritan would attend to him and take him to rehab center or machlot. If not , i expect assenna to lock him out. No one can comment any thing not in line with higdefs policy in dehai or madot or although all eritreans should have the right to use this forum abusers of this forum should be locked out.

  • Tesfai T December 31, 2016

    Brother K.Tewolde Thank you for your civil and kind memorable expression about Mruts Yfter. To those who spit poisonous words on this mrdium, may God gives you His Healing.
    Regardless we are Eritreans or Ethiopians as a peple of both Independent neighbor countries we should to treat each other in respect and dignity out of the context of the present politics. As people Letting all negativities behind and look farsight will benefit our present and future generations to come.

    • Ghesu December 31, 2016

      Super and hopeless MUSLIM NEFAHITO, may evil Allah rot you in vicious Islam HELL.

  • Ghesu December 31, 2016

    Indeed, as brother Zeray or brother Fithawi pointed out in the unfairly deleted comment,
    only the poorest, the uneducated, the unprivileged and the rootless nomads with identity crisis
    of a society get forced to join a barbaric criminal Islamic ELF shifta/banditry. Their poor choices are made
    out of sheer desperation and hopelessness, In their bleak grim lives they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
    Fools think they monopolize truth. Poor Eritrea is such example full of morons functioning by digitally controlled switches. “One of the sure signs of maturity is the ability to rise to the point of self-criticism”,- Martin Luther King.
    Fascist Italian created the first and the worst apartheid system in the world, yes far worst than the South African system. Some poor pathetic people are still proud to be called “Eritreans” by the name of the slave masters picked for them and are still weirdly acting as people from Sicily!! Crazy, not quiet!! Some morons have no shames or self-dignity to still glorifying and publicizing a savage colonial name and history which has baggage of extreme shame and humiliation to our forefathers. Why remain hostage to fascist Italian and savage evil barbaric moslem Arab colonization legacy then? Black Africans had gotten rid of colonial names, like Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.

    • andom January 2, 2017

      Oh zeray, aka fithawi, aka ghesu now we know who u are. U are not even eritrean. U are trying to preach to us that we should get rid of our name and bear a new name. Well u did not tell us what we should call our self. Would that be habesha or ur favourate agazi. Well eritreans have already voted for independense and it is over. U need to figure out how to live with ur soon to be rulers the amhara or oromo. Having heart attack already. Well inflated with hallow pride, u chose to abuse 80 million ethiopians trying to be more ethiopian than ethiopians. Now is time to pay the price. Surrender the amhara land to amhara, eritreas land to eritrea before wiped out of tigray. Enough is enough. Time for tigrayans to be more ethiopian than ethiopians and higdefites to be more eritrean than eritreans is over.

  • Berhe Tensea January 1, 2017

    When is Assena going to stop the zombies who are insulting , ELF, and moslems. The main topic IS about Mruts Yefter RIP the running legend and not about something else.
    Assena reputation as a genuine and responsible mass media medium is is question.
    Assena must act responsibly becuase it is doing a great service to pfdj by its negligence.

  • Berhe Tensea January 1, 2017

    When is Assena going to stop the zombies who are insulting , ELF, and moslems. The main topic IS about Mruts Yefter RIP the running legend and not about something else.
    Assena reputation as a genuine and responsible mass media medium is is question.
    Assena must act responsibly because it is doing a great service to pfdj by its negligence.

    • AHMED SALEH !!! January 2, 2017

      It became clear that Assenna is next target after to degrade its efforts .
      Unfortunately by allowing destructive comments to stay posted for readers , I blame
      moderators negligence for spoiling the outlook of this forum .
      We can’t keep asking to stop his nonsense behavior while we welcome to maneuver
      with his sinister motives . I think we need to be honest for ourselves .
      When I called him NEFAHITTO , it wasn’t to insult him but from the way he represent himself.
      Nick-names can change his skin color but not his true characters . Take a look for Gheshu .
      Zeray , Fithawi …….. etc . even a kid can identify him .

  • dawit January 5, 2017

    When I saw the picture I thought he was amanuel of assenna