Ethiopian Silver Medalist Feyisa Lelisa Reunites with Family in USA
February 15, 2017 - Feyisa Lelisa, the 27-year-old Ethiopian silver medal winning marathoner, reunited with his family on Tuesday, according to media reports. His wife, Iftu Mulisa, and two children, 5-year-old daugher, Soko, and 3-year-old son, Sora, arrived at the Miami International Airport after being separated from them for six months, according to VOA.
“It's been tough living alone,” he said speaking to VOA’s Afaan Oromoo Service over the phone in his native Afaan Oromoo. “Back home, I had a lot of support. It hasn’t been easy, but that's part of the struggle. You don't give up,” he said.
Lelisa has been given a U.S. special skill visa with the help of his lawyer and has settled in the U.S. state of Arizona in Flagstaff. His family entered the country on immigrant visas. The distance runner made headlines around the world when he crossed his wrists above his head, making a symbol for protests in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The anti-government gesture at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro put the runner at grave personal risk, and possible retribution toward his family. (VOA)