Ethiopia's tiny village of Bekoji, which has produced some of the country's greatest athletes, is to be inaugurated a museum in their honour, state media said on Monday.
In its first step, Ethiopian government officials, along with double Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele and the 1992 Olympic 10,000m gold medallist Derartu Tulu laid a cornerstone on a 12 hectare plot of land over the weekend, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) said.
"Bekoji's athletes have been the pride of the entire country. Their achievements therefore deserve to be honoured forever," regional president Abadula Gemeda said in a speech delivered during the ceremony on Saturday.
The town of Bekoji, 250 kilometres south of Addis Ababa, has been the main source of top-class athletes for Ethiopia since it first took part in its first Olympics in Melbourne in 1956.
Both Kenenisa and fellow double Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba hail from the town, and, along with others, have so far brought seven Olympic gold medals and 13 world championships title.
Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries, finished 18th in the medals table at the Beijing Olympics with four gold, one silver and two bronze.