Eritrean fans living in hope
As the rising young national hero, Eritrean Awet Habtom, crosses the finishing line in Bergen during the U23 Men´s Time Trial, there is a large crowd of fans in red, green and blue making an astonishing wall of sound.
Story by Tobias Dahlberg
Eritrean cycling is on the rise and most of all the fans truly love their idols!
After the race is over we find the Eritrean riders and the rest of the crew taking pictures, talking and laughing along with the group of fans gathering around the team cars. Truly Team Eritrea is inspirational, approachable and easy going off the race course.
Bergen2017.no had a quick chat with three of the fans as their national team took off to rest before the upcoming races. Asmerum Kifle Welde Kidan, Mukur Nemariam Tesfaslasie and Kadas Tsegai, all lived some years in the region of Bergen, and all originate from Eretria.
We really want to help our riders from our homeland, morally, and showing our flag. That’s why we are here, says Asmerum.
Explaining more about the popularity of cycling, Asmerum tells about the history of Eritrea as a previous Italian colony and the rise of cycling to become somewhat of a national sport. It´s just been growing and growing, he says. The entry of Eritrean riders into the large tours such as TdF could be just the beginning. Although some of the best national cyclists could not attend in Bergen, Asmerum hopes to see at least Natnael Berhane do well.
I was waiting for Daniel Teklehaymanot, but Natnael Berhane is a clever rider. I hope he could win the race, says Asmerum.
Kadas Tsegai also expresses the true spirit in the expectations. Hope is always there:
“The win. We hope, we hope, we hope!”
The cheering is also about something else, explains Asmerum. The national cyclist has shown the world about Eritrea, making it a window to the world.
“It is important to continue rooting for our riders, country, this is the other aim.”
And finally, the fans are really happy about everything happening in Bergen.
Very AMAZING the preparing also, the Norwegians are very ready to do this, they are doing good things for riders and audience too, says Kadas Tsegai.
There is no doubt these fans will be here the rest of the week to cheer on their heroes and how proud they are.
Dai! Dai! Dai!
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