This year’s Prince of Asturias Award winner in the sporting field has been revealed by the 30-strong jury at Oviedo in Spain.
The chairwoman, former tennis champion Arancha Sanchez Vicario, announced the 2011 prize will go to the legendary Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebreselassie.
He was raised on a farm, and his life pounding the roads began at an early age with a 20 kilometre round trip, running, to school.
Those rural beginnings led to a host of Olympic and World Championship golds and world record times – he is currently the world’s fastest marathon runner.
The award also reflects Gebreselassie’s work out of competition. He is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and has worked to resolve conflict between the government and civil society in his home Ethiopia.