By Elshadai Negash
DUBAI (14-Jan) -- While Haile Gebrselassie is attacking his own world marathon record here tomorrow, his performance should be boosted by thousands of Ethioipian fans who are expected to line the course, mobilized by both the Ethiopian community and the Ethiopian consulate here.
According to Zewde Taye, Consulate General of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the United Arab Emirates, so strong is the expectation of Ethiopians for Gebrselassie to break the record that they have postponed celebrations for the Ethiopian Epiphany, which were set for Friday, to come out in force and cheer Gebrselassie during his record attempt.
Moreover, choir singers from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and three cultural bands will provide music along different parts of the course and at the finish line. The bands will have an overnight party for Ethiopians leading up to the race in downtown Dubai before scattering to choice viewing points on the course.
It is hard to understate the enthusiasm and adoration shown for Gebrselassie by his compatriots. En route to winning the 2007 New York City Half-Marathon, Ethiopian fans cheered him wildly, waving flags and even running along the course with the two-time Olympic gold medalist for a few strides. No less is expected here.