APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Ethiopia has awarded two Beijing Olympics double gold winners —Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele — new Toyota Lancer vehicles worth US$40,000 for their sterling performances in at the recent China games which ended on 24 August.
Coach Woldemeskel Kostre of 5,000m and 10,000m also received a Toyota Lancer automobile award from Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who handed the car keys to the two athletes at a ceremony held Wednesday night in the capital Addis Ababa.
\"The government is proud to give these gifts to the two athletes who have made history. They are unique and heroes,\" Meles said.
The award ceremony was held on the eve of Ethiopia’s New Year.
The government has also authorised free VIP access at Ethiopia’s international airport to 18 athletes who won medals in Beijing, in addition to awarding US$10,000 for Sileshi Sihine who won a silver medal in the 10,000m.
Bronze winner Meseret Defar in the 5,000m and Tsegaye Kebede in the marathon received US$5,000 each.
Four journalists who covered the Beijing Olympics for the state owned media were awarded US$1,000 each, while two doctors and six accompanying coaches were awarded US$1,500 each.