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Rio 2016 Olympics: Ethiopian Swimmer Speaks Out About Being Dubbed a “Whale, Fat and Tubby”

RIO 2016
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Ethiopian Olympic swimmer Robel Kiros Habt was being branded a “whale” following his poor performance at the Rio Games and his extra weight. He finished last in the Preliminary Men’s 100m Freestyle heats at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.
The 24 year old was the only one of the 59 entrants in the heats not to complete the distance in under a minute. He was ranked 59th with a time of 1 minute 4.95 seconds.
Viewers made fun of the Ethiopian athlete’s body shape and compared it to his competitors. Some were particularly harsh in their commentary by dubbing him a “whale” and “fat”. Media reports referred to him as “tubby, “chubby” and “overweight”. The Daily Mail even invited readers to “meet Robel the whale”
The Ethiopia-based university student, whose entry for Rio was secured on a special invitation from world body FINA (International Swimming Federation) extended to athletes from under-represented countries, on Wednesday spoke about how the criticism had affected him.

 

“It has been difficult,” he told the Daily Mail. “Too difficult, I don’t know how I feel, but many things. Some of the things people have said or written are not nice. I am a nice person, I would not say these things about others. They have used dirty language against me and called me fat and a big man and a whale,” he said.
Habte, who says he is now retiring from Olympic swimming, told Daily Mail that he  had put on weight after a car accident forced him to break from his training schedule. The swimmer, who now weighs 179lb, also said he had expected to finish in last place having never trained in an Olympic-sized pool
Prior to the Olympics Habte’s best time was 59.9 seconds.  According to the Telegraph, “It may be some time before Habte is described as ‘sculpted’ or ‘chiselled’, and he has no plans on competing again, but he will always be an Olympian. For him, Rio was never about the winning, only the taking part
“I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics… I wanted to do something different for my country, that’s why I chose swimming. Everybody, every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn’t want to run; I wanted to be a swimmer.”

Habte, who says he is now retiring from Olympic swimming, told Daily Mail that he  had put on weight after a car accident forced him to break from his training schedule. The swimmer, who now weighs 179lb, also said he had expected to finish in last place having never trained in an Olympic-sized pool

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