Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign

[Sports and World News ★★★]


(P1) A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $40,000 (£30,000) to help Ethiopia’s Olympic marathon silver medalist, Feyisa Lilesa, seek asylum. He crossed his hands above his head as he finished the race. A gesture made by Ethiopia’s Oromo people who have suffered brutal police crackdowns. He says he may be killed if he goes home but Ethiopia’s government says he will be welcomed as a hero. However, state media is not showing photos of him crossing the line.

(P2) There has been a wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months over a series of frustrations, including attempts by the governments to reallocate land in the Oromo and Amhara regions. US-based Human Rights Watch says security forces have killed more than 400 Oromo protesters, a figure the government disputes.

(P3) Rule 50 of the Olympic charter bans political displays or protests and the IOC says they are gathering information about the case.

WORDS: 150


VOCABULARY: crowdfunding, asylum, gesture, crackdowns, reallocate, charter


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Should the Ethiopian Olympic runner seek asylum or go back to his country? Why?
  3. The Olympic charter bans political displays and protests. Do you think the athlete should lose his medal for the gesture he made?  Why or why not?
  4. Do you think Feyisa Lelisa is a hero? Why or why not?


  1. Which medal did the runner win?
  2. What did the runner do with his hands as he was crossing the finish line?
  3. Ethiopia’s news is broadcasting pictures of him finishing the race. (T or F)
  4. Why are people protesting in Ethiopia?
  5. How many people have died in the protests?


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • raised more than (P1)
  • crossing the line (P1)
  • a wave of protests (P2)
  • gathering information (P3)

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Image source: photo credit: EPA

One thought on “Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign

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