One of the most iconic figures in distance running, Haile Gebrselassie, is considering a move into the political arena, he revealed on Monday. The two-time Olympic gold medallist, who is affectionately known as The Emperor, refused to rule out the possibility of running for the Ethiopian presidency, saying he wishes to 'reach more people' through politics.
Now 40, Gebrselassie has shown a remarkable longevity to his running career, illustrated by his recent performance at the Bupa Great Manchester Run. Despite finishing third, the Ehtiopian clocked 28 minutes flat and set a World Masters record in the process.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Gebrselassie commented: "Some people are advising me against it. Others say it's a wonderful idea," he said. "I respect all opinions. I believe as long as my intentions are positive, you have to support it."
Gebrselassie admitted September's presidential election may be a 'too soon' to make his move, and the more likely option is running as an independent candidate by 2015. He added: "We are here in our country, Ethiopia. And as long as we live here, we should play our part. We have to sort (out) any problems we have."
While this will constitute Gebrselassie's first movement into government, he has been active in his country's political front before. In 2005, he helped set up a the Elders Council, which brokered peace between the ruling party and opponents following post-election violence