SPORTS  AND  RECREATION
Visiting family and friends is the most common pastime in Ethiopia. Ethiopians often celebrate being together through the traditional coffee ceremony; guests are expected to drink three cups of coffee. In urban areas, men may get together for coffee in a café.

In both rural and urban areas, Ethiopia's most popular sport is football (soccer), which people play almost anywhere, sometimes using a bundle of rags as the ball. Other popular sports include boxing, basketball, volleyball, tennis and cycling.

Ethiopians have become famous for excellence in running. Numerous male and female athletes have won Olympic medals and set world records. Abebe Bikila won gold medals at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. Belayneh Densamo held the world record for marathon running for almost a decade (1989-1998). At the 1992 Olympics, Derartu Tulu become Ethiopia's first female gold medalist when she won the 10,000-metre event.

In rural areas many men enjoy wrestling, pole-vaulting, and horse racing. Gugs is an equestrian game played by men at festivals. Sitting on brightly decorated horses, riders race at high speeds and throw mock spears at each other. When fleeing, riders fend off spears with shields made of animal hide. Riders also show off their horsemanship by running alongside their horses then leaping onto their backs. Traditionally, the game helped prepare young men for war.

Girls enjoy jacks, skipping, swinging and hopscotch. Card games are popular. Gebata is a board game played throughout Africa. Players try to accumulate as many pebbles as possible by moving them on the board, which has six holes on each side.

Genna, which resembles hockey, is played traditionally at Christmas. Players use bent sticks (t'ing) and a wooden ball (irur). Unlike hockey, genna has no limit on the number of players and no defined playing area. The goals may be any two spots and can be as far apart as two villages.

In cities such as Addis Ababa, people enjoy modern entertainment such as films, theatre and nightclubs. Some bars offer biliardo (Italian billiards) tables.





  Did you know?
The runner Haile Gebrelassie has set 14 world records. His times for the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races are unbeaten. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila ran the marathon barefoot and won the gold medal.