Ethiopia showcased their athletic prowess at the 19th World Athletics Championships in Budapest, leaving an indelible mark on the competition’s history. With remarkable achievements, including their 100th medal and dominant performances in various events, Ethiopia has left an indelible mark on the history of the competition.
From securing silver in the fiercely competitive 1500 meters to clinching the top three spots in the women’s 10,000 meters, Ethiopia’s track and field athletes displayed their exceptional talent. Their success extended beyond the track, with victories in the grueling 3,000-meter steeplechase and the women’s marathon, further cementing Ethiopia’s position as a powerhouse in long-distance running.
As preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games take shape, Ethiopia’s athletes, coaches, and governing bodies are determined to continue their pursuit of sporting greatness and make their presence felt on the world stage once again.
In a moment reminiscent of the World Athletics Champion in Helsinki 18 years prior, Gudaf Tsegai, Letesenbet Gidey, and Ejegaheyu Taye claimed the top three spots in the women’s 10,000 meters, solidifying Ethiopia’s dominance on the track.
Lemicha Girma, a force to be reckoned with in the field, emerged as the undisputed champion in the grueling 3,000-meter steeplechase. Astonishingly, he had previously secured silver medals for three consecutive years, earning him the moniker of “The Silver Man” within the athletics community.
Ethiopia experienced further glory in the women’s marathon, where they clinched their second gold medal of the Championships.
Amane Beriso triumphantly seized the top spot, while Oregon world athletics champion Gotytom Gebre Selassie settled for a well-deserved second place. The audacious decisions made by four Ethiopian athletes during the marathon, as they separated themselves from the rest of the pack, captured the
However, the scorching heat took its toll on the London Marathon winner, who had been holding strong in third place. Battling with a strained back, she valiantly pushed through but ultimately had to settle for fifth place.
Another standout, Tsehay Gemechu, showcased her trademark prowess by outpacing her competitors and leaving them in her wake, a testament to her exceptional teamwork skills.
In a surprising turn of events, the men’s athletes failed to secure a single gold medal in this year’s championship.
Selemon Barega, who took part in the highly competitive 10,000 meters, managed to claim the bronze, earning a place on the podium.
Meanwhile, the men’s 5000 meters in Budapest stirred up a whirlwind of controversy. The 5000 meter race proved to be a challenging race for Ethiopian athletes, as none managed to capture a medal.
Yomif Kejelcha, Hagos Gebre Hiwot, and Berihu Argawi finished in 5th, 6th, and 8th place, respectively.
Similarly, Ethiopia did not make a mark in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and 5000m races, failing to secure a spot on the medal podium.
Despite these setbacks, Ethiopia’s performance in the middle and long distances, as well as the marathon, propelled them to an impressive sixth-place finish in the medal leader’s board.
Out of the remaining medals, four were silver and six were bronze. Notably, three of the four silver medals were secured by the women athletes, namely Letesenbet Gidey, Derbe Wolteji, and Gotytom Gebreslassie.
Recognition and Awards
Following the conclusion of the championships, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) held a ceremony on August 31, 2023, to honor and reward the athletes’ achievements. The Federation presented a cash prize of 60,000 birr to the gold medalists, 40,000 birr to the silver medalists, and 30,000 birr to the bronze medalists.
In recognition of the remarkable teamwork displayed by the women marathon athletes, the EAF awarded a cash prize of 50,000 birr.
Overall, the EAF allocated over 1.7 million birr to honor the Ethiopian athletics team and delegation for their commendable performance at the Championships.
Meanwhile, the athletes expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the unwavering support and hospitality they received during their stay in Budapest. Yalemzerf, who finished fifth in the marathon race, openly stated that she would have given up if it weren’t for the unwavering support of her country, Ethiopia.
Future Plans in Ethiopian Athletics
Numerous athletics clubs in Ethiopia are striving to cultivate athletes across different distances. However, despite the attention given to athletics and the various challenges that need to be addressed, coaches and athletes continue to face difficulties in finding adequate support.
While Ethiopia boasts a pool of talented athletes, not just in long distances but also in short distances, progress in the latter has been less than desired. The development of athletes in the 400-meter distance requires additional resources and experts.
Unfortunately, the ongoing struggle to secure suitable venues and materials remains a common complaint among those involved.
Nonetheless, EAF President Derartu Tulu emphasized the urgent need for the government to establish a center of excellence. Failing to do so would jeopardize the very essence of Ethiopian athletics, for which the nation is renowned.
The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) also made headlines by forging a groundbreaking partnership with the Hungarian Sport Science University. This collaboration promises invaluable short-term training and formal education opportunities for the federation, spanning from comprehensive courses in athletics development and management, right up to post-graduate studies.
Preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
The countdown to the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games is well underway. Scheduled to commence on July 26, 2024, in France, the EAF has taken proactive steps in collaboration with the Ethiopian Olympic Committee (EOC) to ensure early preparations.
All coaches have been invited to submit their comprehensive plans and schedules for the Olympic Games. Consequently, the EAF decided to commence training for the national team six months in advance without dispersing the current athletes. Notably, the dispute between the EAF and EOC has been successfully resolved with the intervention of the Ministry of Culture and Sport.
With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on the horizon, Ethiopia remains steadfast in its commitment to excel on the world stage, harnessing the collective efforts of athletes, coaches, and governing bodies to achieve sporting greatness.