Sporting Heroes: No.55, Haile Satayin

In 2002 he stunned the athletics community with 32nd-place finish in the European Championships.

marathon feat 88 (photo credit: )
marathon feat 88
(photo credit: )
When he lived in Ethiopia in the l970s and '80s Haile Satayin stuck to local competitions, making absolutely no impact on international athletics. It was not till a decade after his 1991 aliya to Israel that the understated athlete began making the most remarkable of transformations into the country's top marathon runner. After leaving his job as a youth running coach in 2002 he began focusing on personal achievements. That year Satayin stunned the athletics community by finishing in 32nd position at the European Championships in Munich and two years later finished the Olympic marathon in 20th position despite being, by far, the oldest runner in the field. There is continuing ambiguity about Satayin's age - last September he claimed to be 45 years old, while his passport said he was 52. Either way, that month he again overcame the odds, finishing 19th in the marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Japan and he will represent Israel at the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer. Tomorrow: One of Israel's best ever surfers