Two more Eritreans(Amanuel and Awet) made history today appearing in the presentation ahead of 102nd Giro Italia starting tomorrow in a city of Bologna, which is famously known for the epicentre of Eritrean struggle for independence in Europe since 45 years ago back in 1974….
Altogether, 5 Eritreans have taken part in Giro. This is 121 years since cycling was first introduced in Eritrea and exactly 80 years since the legendary Ghebremariam Gebru won the Giro Eritrea back in 1939 beating all the Italians, when Eritreans were allowed for the first time to race alongside a strong Italian riders, some of whom had taken part in the Giro Italia.
On the day when Amanuel Ghebregziabher and Awet Ghebremedhin have today become the 4th and 5th Eritrean to take part in one of the world’s most prestigious grand tour (102nd Giro Italia), we will delve deeper into the context of the history of Eritrean cycling in general until today’s great Eritrean success in world cycling…
After Mera (wedi Kudus) in 2016, Natu and Dani (2017), Natu again(2018) & now Emma and Awet(2019), Eritrea is indeed continuing to make history every year…
As every sport has its own historical perspective, what makes this year’s Giro even more so exciting for Eritrea is because it is happening on the 80th year anniversary of the legendary Eritrean rider, Ghebremariam Gebru, winning the Giro Eritrea back in 1939, when local Eritrean riders were allowed for the first time to ride against a strong Italian riders, some of whom had raced in the Giro before. Mind you, it wasn’t because the Fascist Italian suddenly becoming generous enough to allow the natives to take part in a cycling race in their own country. It was indeed a result of a resistance struggle fought tooth and nail by the great warriors rebelling in Eritrea and elsewhere such as Abraham Deboch and Moges Asghedom bombing of Grazziani’s entourages in Addis Ababa (Feb 1937) and the great Zerai Deres destroying fascist black shirts Carabinieri’s in the middle of Rome(May 1937) both in a space of 3 months in fighting against Racism, Discrimination, Fascism, Colonialism and injustices. It’s indeed on the back of such heroic sacrifices opened up by Eritrean heroes that Ghebremariam (wedi Gebru) used it to the fullest when he showed the Fascists who really the boss is by smashing the Italian ideology that was borrowed from their Nazi friend at that time, the so called “supremacy of the Aryan race”. That was smashed in Asmara by Ghebremariam Gebru, the son of the ancient Midri-Bahri ruled by the legendary Bahri-Negestat successively for generations, in the same way Jessy Owen did to Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics three year earlier. Wedi Gebru showed total dominance leaving hoards of Italian riders for dead while Jessy Owen also showed total dominance by winning not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 gold medal in total to leave Adolf Hitler fuming and walking out of the stadium. He couldn’t stand seeing his Aryan race ideology got smashed to bits by a black athlete before it was further smashed to smithereens in Asmara.
Therefore both Abraham Deboch, Moges Asghedom, Zerai Deres, Jessy Owen and Wedi-Gebru have helped stop colonial ambitions of the West based on the Nazi’s and fascist Italy’s ideology of the “supremacy of the Aryan Race” smashed in Addis Ababa, Rome, Berlin and Asmara, respectively before it was finally buried once and for all by the allied forces in the Second World War(1939-1945).
Following the defeat of the fascist Italians and the end of the Second World War (1939-1945), the first tour of Eritrea in the post Italian colonisation was held in 1946 under the British military administration. Again, Eritrean dominated it but the British military administration, shocked by its popularity, banned it ever since simply because it didn’t serve its greater agenda to include Eritrea into its colonial holding of Sudan. At the time, a cycling race was never even heard of in Britain.
Following the end of the British military administration, who sacked the country Eritrea of all its valuables, the US puppet feudal regime of Haileselassie also got busy sacking our country while also banning the tour of Eritrea but the feudal emperor couldn’t help using Eritrean talent to represent for the glory of Ethiopia in the Olympics in the same way he tried in vain to steal Zerai Deres’ heroic martyrdom in Rome for his own glorification.
During the occupation of our country, several talented Eritrean have taken part 15 times in successive Olympics. But following Eritrea’s independence, several more dozens of Eritrean cyclists of elite men, women, U23 and junior ages groups have since taken part in the Olympics, World championship and World grand tours representing liberated Eritrea…
Therefore, our riders today need to know very well, their success and the opportunities they got on merits has come on the back of the sacrifices of many of their ancestors in history…. Knowing one’s past helps solidify one’s ground today and can also helps one know one’s way forward…. Hope our riders get to know the history that helped them carry this far.
Hoping our riders get on the podium during the festive month of May, we fondly remember Dani the man had done exactly that two years ago on the historic 100th Giro when he got on the podium as KoM (King of the mountains) just as EPLF had ruled the chains of Nakfa mountains ever since it liberated Nakfa back in 1977…..
All the best of luck to all!!