People are being very cruel about Ethiopia’s 100m swimmer ‘Robel the Whale’

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Ethiopia’s Olympic swimmer came last in the 100m heats, and people aren’t being very nice.

Robel Kiros Habte competed in the Preliminary Men’s 100m Freestyle heats in Rio yesterday.

However, because of his poor performance and ‘dad bod’ he has earned the cruel moniker ‘Robel the Whale’.

He ended up ranking 59th out of 59 competitors across the eight heats, with a time of one minute and 4.95 seconds – around 17 seconds behind the winning swimmer, Australian Kyle Chalmers who finished in just 47.9 seconds.

As you can imagine, people were ruthless on Twitter.

One user, Jack McGuire, posted a video of the race referring to Habte as ‘the fat Olympics swimmer’.

Harold Siyaya called him ‘overweight and embarrassingly slow’, while Ethiopian news site Ecadf called him ‘out of shape’.

And sports journalist Jai Bednall (somewhat unfairly) compared him to Eric the Eel – a notoriously slow swimmer competing on behalf of Equatorial Guinea in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Eric ‘the Eel’ Moussambani struggled to complete the 100m freestyle at the Games in 2000, clocking up a time of 1:52.72.

However, he set a new personal best and Equatoguinean national record. Apparently he had never seen an Olympic-sized pool before, and had practised in a lake and a hotel pool.

Ethiopian sports pundits, meanwhile, aren’t just body-shaming Habte, but have a slightly more legitimate criticism of how he came to qualify for Rio in the first place.

According to one journalist, Konjit Teshome, Habte ‘aka the Whale’ is the son of the president of the country’s swimming federation.

And another, Zecharias Zelalem, tweeted: ‘Cronyism, favouritism, nepotism. Everything highlighted by #RobelHabte Kiros’ appearance at #Rio2016.’

But none of this seemed to bother Habte, who said he was just pleased to have taken part.

‘I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics,’ he said. ‘So thanks for God.’

He added: ‘I wanted to do something different for my country, that’s why I chose swimming.

‘Everybody, every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn’t want to run, I wanted to be a swimmer.

‘It didn’t matter where I finished.’