• Short Summary

    BIKLIA ABEBE, WINNER OF TWO OLYMPIC MARATHONS, HAS WON HIMSELF ANOTHER HONOUR: THE 1964 INTERNATIONAL SPORTS TROPHY AWARD OF THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION'S TELEVISION SERVICE.

  • Description

    BIKLIA ABEBE, WINNER OF TWO OLYMPIC MARATHONS, HAS WON HIMSELF ANOTHER HONOUR: THE 1964 INTERNATIONAL SPORTS TROPHY AWARD OF THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION'S TELEVISION SERVICE. THE RESULT WILL BE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED IN LONDON TOMORROW NIGHT (THURSDAY). THE TROPHY HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO HIM IN ADVANCE BY EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE OF ETHIOPIA IN ADDIS ABABA.

    FILM REPORTS ON THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF BIKLIA. IT BEGINS WITH EMPEROR SELASSIE PRESENTING THE TROPHY - WHICH IS IN THE SHAPE OF A TELEVISION CAMERA - AND GOES ON TO SHOW BIKLIA IN TRAINING BOTH IN THE CITY AND MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING IT, AT HOME WITH HIS FAMILY, HIS VERSATILITY IN OTHER SPORTS, AND BIKLIA AT WORK - AS ONE OF THE EMPEROR'S BODYGUARDS. (BIKLIA, WHICH IS HIS SURNAME, IS PRONOUNCED BE-KEE-LA).

    BIKLIA ABEBE IS 32, AND A GLUTTON FOR PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT. HE TRAINS SIX DAYS A WEEK, WITH UP TO 20-MILE (32-KM) RUNS A DAY THROUGH ADDIS ABABA AND IN THE HILLS SKIRTING IT. A RELAXED RUNNER, HIS SLENDER LEGS BEAT THE GROUND RHYTHMICALLY, HIS LONG, THIN ARMS MOVING EASILY IN A LOW-SLUNG ACTION.

    HE IS ALSO A NATURAL RUNNER. AS A BAREFOOT YOUNG SHEPHERD BOY, HE WAS USED TO WALKING AND RUNNING SEVERAL MILES A DAY IN SEARCH OF FRESH GRAZING PASTURE FOR HIS FLOCK. BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1956 THAT HE TOOK UP RUNNING SERIOUSLY.

    IN THIS 3,000-YEAR-OLD LAND OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA, HE PITS HIS STRENGTH AGAINST BACK-BREAKING HILLS IN THE HEAT AND RAREFIED ATMOSPHERE OF THE TREE-STUDDED HIGHLANDS. HERE AND THERE IS A PAUSE FOR PHYSICAL EXERCISES.

    HIS TEN-STONE (14-LB - 63.5-KG) FRAME HAS AMAZING RESILIENCY. IT TOOK TRAINING LIKE THIS TO WIN THE 1960 AND 1964 GOLD MEDALS IN THE MARATHON - THE ONLY MAN EVER TO WIN IT TWICE. HIS TOKYO TRIUMPH WAS EVEN MORE REMARKABLE, HAVING ONLY A MONTH PREVIOUSLY HAD HIS APPENDIX OUT.

    TO THE PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA, HE IS A NATIONAL IDOL AND HERO - SECOND ONLY TO THE EMPEROR HIMSELF. ON HIS RETURN FROM BOTH ROME AND TOKYO, MORE THAN HALF-A-MILLION PEOPLE TURNED OUT TO ACCLAIM THE FORMER SHEPHERD BOY.

    BIKLIA LIVES IN A MODEST, IRON-ROOFED HOUSE IN THE ETHIOPIAN CAPITAL. HE LEADS A QUIET LIFE WITH HIS WIFE AND YOUNG SON GEROMO. TROPHIES WON IN MANY FOREIGN COUNTRIES DECORATE HIS LOUNGE, BUT AT HEART BIKLIA IS A SHY AND RETIRING PERSONALITY. HE NEITHER DRINKS NOR SMOKES, AND CARES LITTLE FOR PUBLICITY.

    NOT ONLY IS HE AN OUTSTANDING RUNNER, BUT ALSO A FINE ALL-ROUND SPORTSMEN. HIS VERSATILITY APPEARS TO KNOW NO BOUNDS. HE IS A KEEN SHOW-JUMPER, A SKILFUL SOCCER PLAYER, A FINE FIELD ATHLETE, AND ADEPT BASKETBALL PLAYER, A HARD-RIDING POLO PLAYER, AND A SPEEDY GANNA (HOCKEY) FORWARD. A REGULAR CHECK IS MADE ON HIS MEDICAL CONDITION. HIS DOCTOR SAYS BIKLIA HAS A REMARKABLY STRONG HEART.

    BUT HIS JOB COMES ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE. BIKLIA HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE EMPEROR'S IMPERIAL BODYGUARD SINCE HE WAS 20. DURING THE REBELLION IN DECEMBER, 1960, HE AND THE REST OF THE BODYGUARD WERE THROWN INTO JAIL ON SUSPICION OF COMPLICITY. BUT HE WAS SOON RELEASED AND EXONERATED FROM ANY OF THE BLAME. BEFORE THE 1960 OLYMPICS, HE WAS A CORPORAL. HIS WIN EARNED HIM AN EXTRA STRIPE. HE WAS STILL A SERGEANT WHEN HE WENT TO TOKYO - NOW HE IS A LIEUTENANT. BY 1968, HE COULD BE A MAJOR. FOR BIKLIA ABEBE PLANS TO MAKE IT A TRIPLE TRIUMPH.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA1ZT35I1YD0L4RGPPVFF5AYM1G
    Media URN:
    VLVA1ZT35I1YD0L4RGPPVFF5AYM1G
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    16/12/1964
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:05:34:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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