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Kenenisa Bekele plans to invest his IAAF $333,333 prize in Ethiopia

By Tanya Menoni | Examiner

According to Addis Fortune magazine, Ethiopia’s track star Kenenisa Bekele has specific plans on how he will spend his share of the jackpot earned in the IAAF Golden League events. Bekele won all six of his events in the Golden League series, which earned him a $333,333 check. The jackpot is $1 million, but the total was divided among three athletes who won their events — Bekele, sprinter Sanya Richards and pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva.

Elshadai Negash at Addis Fortune has a lengthy look at Kenenisa Bekele’s earnings over the year, and how one of the greatest distance runners of all time earns significantly less than other superstar athletes. According to Negash, Bekele will earn approximately $1.141 million dollars in 2009, including the IAAF jackpot and other appearance fees and prizes.

Bekele told Addis Fortune that he plans to invest the money in several projects he is working on, saying: “I am building a hotel and a modern athletics centre. These two projects need a total investment of about 15 million dollars. These prizes will go towards that.” Bekele also acknowledges that world-class runners still earn significantly less than athletes in other sports.

Kenenisa Bekele has certainly had an amazing season, and he tells the Team Ethiopia website that he has some special people to thank for his victories. Number one on his list? His wife, Danawit Gebregziabher. He tells the site, “She gives me psychological and morale support. Sometimes you need to be told that you are the best in the world and that no one will beat you.” He also credits his manager, brother, father-in-law and physio with helping him finish out an incredible season.

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