G4S 4teen celebrate in Ethiopia
The G4S 4teen athletes have been welcomed to Ethiopia by double Olympic champion and team ambassador, Haile Gebrselassie, to celebrate the end of the G4S 4teen programme in his home town of Addis Ababa
The G4S 4teen was a unique and inspiring international sports campaign that has impacted on the lives of thousands of people around the world. In 2007, G4S selected 14 athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds around the world to come together as one global team to help them compete at the very highest level. The athletes are all from a variety of sports – from archery to wrestling – but all shared in one dream. Together with the help of G4S 4teen inspirational mentor, Haile Gebrselassie, G4S has supported these athletes financially, socially and logistically in a genuine and meaningful way.
Over the six year programme, the athletes have received support from G4S’s international network of offices and employees, and been given access to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as training with childhood heroes and world-renowned experts. As well as receiving full support in their chosen sports, G4S has given the athletes opportunities to develop in education by providing English language and computer lessons. G4S has made a difference to all of the 14 athletes involved, supporting them, their families, the communities in which they live, and the future generation of sporting heroes.
To celebrate the success of the G4S 4teen programme, mentor Haile Gebrselassie invited the athletes to his home country, Ethiopia, and shared some final words of wisdom with the young athletes.
The British Ambassador to Ethiopia, H.E. Greg Dory, also hosted a reception for the athletes to celebrate the programme. He wrote about the evening and the importance of the G4S 4teen and breaking down barriers through sport on the FCO blog.
Gebrselassie took the athletes to Assela, the village where he grew up, to see firsthand his humble beginnings and invited them to his home in Addis Ababa where the athletes were given the opportunity to see Haile’s numerous medals and trophies from an illustrious running career. The young G4S 4teen athletes were entertained with stories from Haile’s sporting past and inspired to continue on their journey to sporting success.
As the G4S 4teen ambassador, Gebrselassie has supported each athlete in achieving their goals, and said: “I have really enjoyed being a mentor to these 14 incredible athletes, they have all achieved so much since I first met them and they will go on to achieve many more great things.
“It was a pleasure for me to welcome them all to my country, a place of which I am hugely proud. To be asked to be the G4S 4teen mentor was an immense privilege and I have many great memories from this programme.”
Athlete Obinna Metu, the Nigerian 100m sprinter, added: “This has been a fantastic experience. G4S and Haile have been a huge support to me for the past six years and it is thanks to G4S that I was able to compete at London 2012 and in Beijing 2008.
“This trip to Ethiopia is the perfect end to the programme, we have all achieved so much in the last six years and it has been great to be able to reflect on this over the past few days whilst we have been back together again.
“I am sure that we will all continue to be successful in our respective sports and we all take away lessons learnt from Haile, as well as fantastic memories of the G4S 4teen.”
The legacy of the G4S 4teen lives on as each country on the G4S 4teen programme has set up a unique project to commemorate and celebrate the programme and the athlete in their country.