Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Ethiopian sports fans have started on Saturday to criticize world marathon record holder and “track hero” Haile Gebresilassie for signing an advertisement agreement with Johnnie Walker, the most widely distributed brand of Scotch whiskey in the world, APA learns here.
Haile signed this week a one-year US$ 100,000 agreement for his service,which makes him the first African to partner with the company.
“I wish Haile will not involve in an alcohol advertisement. I don’t personally support this though I am his fan,” said Tariku Mulatu, an athletics fan.
Haile signing for Johnnie Walker was also an issue on local FM stations on Saturday where callers to the stations expressed their disappointment.
Many sport families are saying that Haile’s choice for alcohol advertisement will negatively influence Ethiopian youths who supported him for his sport role in the world.
“I afraid that many children will attempt to test what Haile is advertising. I am confused why Haile did take such a decision,” said Selamawit Belihu, another Haile fan.
However, Haile downplayed the remark arguing that children under 18 are not allowed to drink alcohol, whether he advertised Johnnie Walker or not.
“If people get drunk it is not my responsibility. They should drink responsibly,” aid Haile.
Haile is currently the holder of world marathon record. He broke in the past more than 20 records in the 3,000, 5,000, 10,000 meter.