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Haile Satayin

(1955 - )

Haile Satayin was born on April 11, 1955, in Ethiopia. He is one of the oldest athletes to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Satayin was, at 48, the oldest member of the Israeli Athens 2004 Olympic squad and represented the country in the marathon. The runner only took up running after being airlifted to Israel during a humanitarian mission in 1991. He is known for his raw physical ability though some doubt his ability to plan out a full race strategy. When asked about the difficulties of marathon running Satayin explains: “I hate running the marathon. It is the hardest run to execute, and you have to suffer through many kilometers.”

Satayin first started competing internationally in the half marathon event. He entered the World Half Marathon Championships in 1994 finishing 69th and in 1996 finishing 71st. He has entered the World Cross Country Championships on five occasions; his highest placing was 81st in 2001. In 2002, Satayin enjoyed the best major tournament run of his career, when he placed 32nd in the European Championships. The long-distance runner made the 2004 Olympic squad thanks to his good form in the summer of 2003. He placed fifth in the Prague marathon and finished 8th in the Venice marathon clocking in at 2:14:21 hours, thirty nine seconds under the Olympic criteria.

Satayin dominates the Israeli long distance events along with Asaf Bimro. He has won the National Championship in the 5,000 meter race in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004. Haile has been even more consistent in the 10,000 meter event winning from 1997-2000 and 2002-2004. He has also been half-marathon champion three times and cross-country champion 8 times. Satayin holds Israeli records in the 20,000-meter (1:02.53), half-marathon (1:03:43) and the marathon (2:14:21) events.

Satayin competed in the Athens 2004 marathon along with fellow Israeli Asaf Bimro. Haile paced himself and stayed well behind among the main pack through most of the race. Haile made great strides in the last 15-kilometeres as he placed 20th overall (2:17.25). There was some embarrassment as the Israeli ran an extraneous lap around the stadium after he had already finished the race.

Haile trains at the Hatzvei club and is a proud father of eight. He resides with his family in the Israeli town of Hadera.

Sources: Jews In Sports; The Forward (August 8, 2008)