How does the Ethiopian national team expect to perform in the Olympic Games in London 2012?
We are doing our preparations. We have a bigger team now trying to finalize the qualifications. And it is mostly the athletics that we are going to take part. And then probably we are expecting our boxing team to qualify and then through the universal access we are going to have one swimming competitor. So, the preparation is going on and our team is preparing.
How many medals do you expect to win?
I think we did very well in Beijing and we are trying to increase at least by 20-30% our medals in London. So, that’s the plan.
In what sports will the team take part in and are there any sports that the team is going to perform for the first time?
Actually for the first time through the universal access program of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) we are going to participate in the swimming competition. We have one guy who is going to compete. And athletics and boxing, we’ve been participating in the previous games, so it is not new.
Could you name sportsmen and sportswomen who are most likely to take prize winning places from your country, the most famous one?
Yes, it is about three months before the Games that we announce who is going to attend because in athletics we have more than three athletes who qualify and who have the minima. So, in three months just before the Games, 90 days before the start, this is when we announce who is going to be part of the competing team.
How many people compose the national delegation in London?
We are planning to have up to 35-40 delegates and mostly, more than 30 are going to be the athletes.
How many times has the team participated in the Olympics?
It has been very long. As history goes back there has been many games that’s we’ve been participating. We started participating more than 40 years ago.
Do you think that you might face some difficulties in London, like weather conditions, time difference?
No, actually we don’t have much time difference but we definitely have weather difference and attitude difference. It is based here on higher attitudes but we are prepared and we have the information.
Who is your main competitor in London?
I cannot say that because we only announce that in ninety days before the competition.
And what does the participation means to you, to your country and to the people?
As I told it has been very long years since we started and it has been very long years since our team always comes back with the gold medals. So, our people wish to continue having the gold medals. We believe that IOC participates itself and makes sure that we are participating in different sports disciplines, that’s more important, so that is what we are working at now.
And what are your expectations from the games in London?
Participation and definitely having some gold medals.
Thank you very much for the interview.