In pictures: Ethiopia's skateboarders 'go legit' – BBC News

Ethiopia’s young skateboarders, who find it hard to get spots to practise, are about to get a huge boost with the opening of the country’s first skatepark, says the BBC’s Roderick Macleod.

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Until now, skateboarders in the capital, Addis Ababa, have had to compete with footballers for space to practise their kick-flips and grinds, using any open piece of concrete they can find.

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But despite the lack of proper facilities, Ethiopia Skate, the collective formed by the city’s skateboarding enthusiasts, now has about 150 members.

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“It’s the closest thing we have to flying,” says 25-year-old doctor Michael Baheru, who considers skateboarding an “expression of freedom”.

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Most of the equipment members use has been donated from abroad, or is purchased and imported by the collective.

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Ethiopia Skate wants to get as many young people involved in the sport as possible .

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The skaters are always on the lookout for the city’s best undiscovered spots, which often happen to be on private property…

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Though that does not necessarily stop them…



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Much to the frustration of local security guards who are supposed to be keeping them out.

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But now, thanks to a global crowdfunding campaign, more than $35,000 (£24,600) has been raised to help build Ethiopia’s first purpose-built skatepark.

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Non-governmental organisation Make Life Skate, which has built similar parks in India, Bolivia, Jordan, and Myanmar, is contributing expertise as well as funding the project.

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More than 50 volunteer skatepark builders from outside Ethiopia have been working with locals for the past few weeks.

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During the construction, local youth involved in the project have been learning skills like carpentry, welding and cement mixing.

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Skateboarders of all ages will be able to borrow equipment for free once the new park opens on Saturday.

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