Ethiopian athletics legend Haile Gebreselassie has implored professional athletes to plan wisely for their future to avoid enduring miserable lives after the sport.
Gebreselassie, also president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, said the huge earnings from competitions will count for nothing if athletes don’t have prudent investment plans.
“Sports is temporary. You have to be careful so that when you retire and stop competing and making money out of running, you have something to do,” the holder of 27 world distance running records said at the weekend when he paid a courtesy call at Nation Centre.
Gebreselassie was in Nairobi as chief guest at last Thursday’s Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
“You need to have your own income, otherwise you will be a big loser,” noted the father of three who has interests in real estate, hotel, farming and car dealing businesses.
“Athletes in Ethiopia and Kenya, especially, don’t know what they will do for their rest of their lives after they stop running because most of us don’t have a good education.
“I’m always advising athletes from Ethiopia, even from Kenya as well, to think of their future. When I was running I always though of my future and now I have about 2,000 people working in my companies which have grown fast over the last few years, and I’m very happy.”