ADDIS ABABA, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Augst,2016) : Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte has won hearts in Rio but faced a vitriolic reaction at home Thursday due to accusations that nepotism is the only reason he is at the Olympics. The 24-year-old son of the country's swimming boss ranked 59th out of 59 competitors in the men's 100m freestyle heats on Tuesday, posting a time of 1:04.95 -- half a lap behind anyone else. Between the rippling abs of the world's finest swimmers, 24-year-old Habte's generously rounded stomach quite literally stuck out, soon earning him the affectionate nickname of "Robel the Whale" on social media.
But internet users in Ethopia -- which regularly produces first-class athletics champions -- were apoplectic with rage that Robel had been selected. "Robel is symbol of racism, favouritism, incompetence that we're currently fighting," tweeted Addis Ababa resident Lina T, referring to a wave of anti-government protests currently engulfing the country. Habte even took the honour of carrying the flag during the Olympic opening ceremony on August 5, a symbol of patriotic pride that Ethiopians were outraged was not given to the world-class runners walking alongside him. "It's OK to come last in any competition, somebody has to right? It's NOT OK to embarrass a nation by entering a competition with no competence whatsoever," Seble T posted on Facebook.