Ethiopia – Tirunesh Dibaba & Kenenisa Bekele Awarded Toyota Vehicles

African Press Agency

September 11, 2008

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) – Ethiopia has awarded two Beijing Olympics double gold winners —Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele — new Toyota Lancer vehicles worth US$40,000 for their sterling performances in at the recent China games which ended on 24 August.

Coach Woldemeskel Kostre of 5,000m and 10,000m also received a Toyota Lancer automobile award from Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who handed the car keys to the two athletes at a ceremony held Wednesday night in the capital Addis Ababa.

“The government is proud to give these gifts to the two athletes who have made history. They are unique and heroes,” Meles said.

The award ceremony was held on the eve of Ethiopia’s New Year.

The government has also authorised free VIP access at Ethiopia’s international airport to 18 athletes who won medals in Beijing, in addition to awarding US$10,000 for Sileshi Sihine who won a silver medal in the 10,000m.

Bronze winner Meseret Defar in the 5,000m and Tsegaye Kebede in the marathon received US$5,000 each.

Four journalists who covered the Beijing Olympics for the state owned media were awarded US$1,000 each, while two doctors and six accompanying coaches were awarded US$1,500 each. More at African Press Agency.

10 Responses to “Ethiopia – Tirunesh Dibaba & Kenenisa Bekele Awarded Toyota Vehicles”


  1. 1 Sam Sep 11th, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    It is good for the Government of Ethiopia to award our heros of the olympic, but I would have been happier if the Pm Meles awarded our heros the home-made, Ethiopian (car) “ABBAY” instead of Japanes made Toyota . Anyaways, it’s good to reward those who made us proud.

    Longlive ETHIOPIA

  2. 2 Nothing Sep 11th, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    It is good to honor our athletes. But I was just wondering, does Toyota even has a car model called Lancer? I know Mitsubishi does.

  3. 3 Azeb Estifanos Sep 11th, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Mr. Nothing,

    I think you are correct. Lancer is made by Mitsubishi. It is very clear that it’s an innocent error by the writer. But the point is: they’ve got some type of a car.

    I think they deserve a little more than a Toyota Corolla or a Mitsubishi Lancer, if you ask me.

  4. 4 get it right Sep 11th, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    there is no model called toyota lancer car, dum-dum get it right

  5. 5 Grum serawitie Sep 12th, 2008 at 12:29 am

    I don’t think it is a mistake as some one (azeb) alluded.

    There must be a Toyota LANCER out there in the Ethiopian Market. I know Mitsubishi Lancer costs much, much less than the quoted 40,000 dollars price tag. Why would a reporter make two mistakes that are material to the story in the same sentence.

    Could it be propaganda!?

  6. 6 kuki Sep 12th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    The event announcer made the mistake of calling the car a Toyota Lancer. I think it is a Mitsubishi Lancer.

  7. 7 Seifu D Sep 13th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    My God! It makes me sick listening to you all. Who gives a shit who makes lancer . You guys are missing the big picture.

  8. 8 DJ Sep 15th, 2008 at 10:57 am

    First whoever wrote this article should have done some homework– the correct car type is “Mitsubishi Lancer”. To provide even additional facts, the high end 2009 Lancer with all the additional package is worth between low to mid twenty thousand dollars. I still don’t understand where the $40,000 price tag came from.

    Second these athletes just won multiple gold medals and all they can give them is a Lancer com’on. It is a little offensive to see that the Kenyan athletes got a lot more money just for winning medals. I guess I should look at the bright side, at least the government gave them something. I’m curious to see if they are going to get taxed on it…BTW does Ethiopia has the same kinds of taxing methods like we do here?

  9. 9 kid Sep 30th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    First, I worked for Toyata, so I can tell you right now that there is no Toyota Lancer.

    As Ethiopians you are all familiar with a car called Toyota Camry.

    Third of all, it has always been like that, the people that should be rewarded greatly are the once left behind in the shadow of the unknown millionaires of Ethiopia. They are also called “Mele bitchs”. So call me crazy if you want, but that doesn’t in any way seems fair. Hey what am i talking about fairness, did i forget get where I came from? lol.

    I love my country, and sh..t I make $120,000 a year and I’m far from an Ethiopian hero like this two runners are.

  10. 10 mat Oct 1st, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    people , 40,000us$ includes the tax they paid for importing it. tax is like 100% when you import a car in ethiopia. but their is no such thing as toyota lancer ,it is mitsubishi lancer it is a stupid and funny mistake…

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