Abeba Aregawi – Swedish-Ethiopian track-and-field athlete Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Sport

Here is some semi-old news from the Swedish athlete world about one of Sweden’s hottest athletes at the moment.

Since the world championships in Moscow a lot has been said about 23-year old Abeba Aregawi. Not too long ago she received Swedish citizenship, on the 28th of June 2012 to be precise. She is married to Henok Weldegebriel, an Ethiopian who also has Swedish citizenship and who lives in Stockholm. Ever since Aregawi won the 1500 meter race rumours about their marriage being a marriage of convenience have spread through the world of sport as well as covered the fronts of many Swedish as well as international newspapers. But the rumours haven’t only been about their marriage being one to get Aregawi Swedish citizenship, rumours have also said she didn’t support Emma Green Tregaro’s protest against Russia’s anti-gay law with her rainbow colored fingernails.

This september Aregawi after she got back from Moscow, Aregawi feels the need to clear up some of the rumours which are going around about her. Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden’s most credible newspapers made a special interview in which she explained what she actually meant during the interview in Moscow when she was asked about what she thought of the anti-gay law statement.

“From what I understand from my religion my belief doesn’t allow two men or two women to be together” she said via her interpreter. She then adds “I show all people respect, and everybody is worth just the same. Sweden is a free country where people have the right to do as they please.” She also wanted to convey to the journalist that she is sorry if she disappointed any fans.

During the interview Aregawi used the little Swedish she knew. She has put training ahead of her Swedish studies making it hard for her to receive Swedish sponsors. New culture and new customs as well as a new language means a lot to take in. “Focus and concentration are things I’ve learned from Swedes” she tells the reporter. Towards the end of the interview he asks what she thinks of as typically Swedish. She replies after a moments silence “Daring to express one’s opinion, atnd feeling free” she tells him thoughtfully. Aregawi is going to train in Ethiopia for the next coming season until the outdoor conditions get better after the Swedish winter.

What do you think of this Swedish-Ethiopian athlete? Have you heard anything about her? Should she really be considered Swedish even though she doesn’t speak very good Swedish? Are authorities happier to give citizenship to athletes than to other immigrants? Write a comment below expressing your thoughts on the subject.

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  1. Martin Flower:

    Nej, jag visste ingenting om henne, men har nu läst artikeln i Dagens Nyheter. En atlet som har en tro – toppen! Är det ett problem att hon bor delvis utomlands? Det är ju många andra svenska som gör det.


    • Katja:

      @Martin Flower Vad jag förstår så är det inte alls ett problem, bortsett från att det skapar lite rykten här och där, men inte legalt sätt. Eftersom det skapar dialog om hur sport är kulturellt sätt olika tycker jag det endast medför positiva aspekter till Svensk sport.

  2. Leslie Olsson:

    I think that every country welcomes atheletes who whant to immegrate…it’s not just a Sweden issue. I am personally sensitive to this subject as my Swedish husband and I are trying to move to Sweden from the US and I will have to wait 10 months before I can even visit Sweden. That being said, every country is struggling with immigration and how to handle the volume of applications that a global society generates. Maybe I just need to become a world class athelete to gain quicker entrance 🙂