2021 Ethiopian Olympic Trials: Gudaf Tsegay (14:13) & Getnet Wale (12:53) Among Six World-Leading Times as New Stars Emerge
June 8, 2021
The one-day Ethiopian Olympic track trials were held in Hengelo today, which were highlighted by Letesenbet Gidey‘s 29:01.03 world record for 10,000 meters (full recap and analysis of Gidey’s run here). Multiple sources have told us that the top three finishers with the standard at today’s trials are going to Tokyo in that event for Ethiopia. That means no Ethiopians will be doubling in Tokyo.
As a result, one of the biggest storylines was what events two of Ethiopia’s biggest stars chose to run. Women’s indoor 1500 world record holder Gudaf Tsegay, who won bronze in the 1500 at Worlds in 2019, opted for the 5000, where before today she had a modest pb of 14:46.22. That means it’s going to be much easier for a 1500 runner like Laura Muir or Shelby Houlihan to medal than it might have been with Tsegay in the field. Likewise, the men’s steeplechase medals also appeared to get easier to win as the world leader, Getnet Wale, opted for the 5000, where he had just a 13:13.87 pb.
Tsegay and Wale both earned impressive world-leading wins in their new disciplines as Tsegay took a crack at the world record before settling for a world-leading 14:13.32 while Wale won the men’s race in a world-leading 12:53.28. Behind Tsegay, the women’s 5k was historically deep as three women broke 14:20 for the first time in history, with all three now among the seven fastest women of all time.
The other big news came in the women’s mid-d events as two unheralded runners announced themselves as medal contenders. In the women’s 1500, 20-year-old Freweyni Hailu came in with a PB just equal to the Olympic standard (4:04.20) but left with a 3:57.33 world lead. The result in the women’s 800 was even more stunning as Werkwuha Getachew didn’t even possess the Olympic standard before tonight as her pb was just 2:00.20, but now she’s the world leader after running 1:56.67.
Women’s 5,000: Three women break 14:20 for the first time in history
The talk before this one was that Gudaf Tsegay might attack the world record of 14:06.62, set last year by Letesenbet Gidey, and Tsegay did indeed take a crack at it. She hit 3k in front in 8:31 (14:11 pace), and had a 15-meter lead with a mile to go, chasing down the blue pacing lights in front of her.
But Tsegay could not hold onto the aggressive pace in 74-degree temps (23.3C), and by 4k she had been caught by rivals Ejgayehu Taye and Senbere Teferi, the 2015 world silver medalist. Rather than submit, however, Tsegay, who was clearly hurting, hung in until the final turn, at which point she took the lead with Taye following into second. With 50 to go, Tsegay broke Taye and sprinted to victory in 14:13.32 to move to #5 on the all-time list — a huge improvement on her 14:46.22 pb coming in but far from a shock given she ran 29:39.42 for 10,000 last month.
Taye (14:14.09, #6 all-time) and Teferi (14:15.24, #7 all-time) crossed shortly thereafter to make history: this was the first time two women in the same race had broken 14:20. Let alone three.
|13||56||Gudaf Tsegay||Senior Women||14:13,32||1||14:46,22|
|12||43||Ejgayehu Taye||Senior Women||14:14,09||2||14:53,16|
|15||89||Senbere Teferi||Senior Women||14:15,24||3||14:23,33|
|14||48||Fantu Worku||Senior Women||14:29,63||4||14:40,47|
|9||77||Meskerem Mamo||Senior Women||14:36,89||5||15:05,21|
|6||47||Fantaye Belayneh||Senior Women||14:44,51||6||15,31|
|11||61||Hawi Feysa||Senior Women||14:45,19||7||14:38,76|
|1||79||Mizan Alem||U20 Women||14:46,20||8||16:22,20|
|4||15||Rahel Daniel||Senior Women||14:55,56||9||16:01,10|
|2||71||Medina Eisa||U18 Vrouwen||14:59,53||10||—|
|5||132||Prisca Chesang||U20 Women||15:05,39||11||15:46,72|
|8||46||Etagegne Woldu||Senior Women||15:08,79||12||15:11,42|
|7||76||Melknat Wedu||U18 Vrouwen||15:20,41||13||15:28,40|
|10||129||Esther Chebet||Senior Women||15:25,15||14||15:04,89|
|3||6||Habon Ahmed||Senior Women||15:57,06||15||16:05,33|
Women’s 800: We have a new Olympic contender
After a 56-second opening 400, the runners in the women’s 800 were either going to royally blow up or run some very, very fast times. The latter scenario is what ended up playing out, as virtual unknown Werkwuha Getachew, who had never broken 2:00 before today, won in a national record of 1:56.67, the fastest women’s 800 time since Caster Semenya left the event in June 2019. The times were quick behind Getachew, with runner-up Habitam Alemu (1:58.16) and third-placer Worknesh Mesele (1:58.71) also dipped under 1:59. Like Getachew, Mesele’s time was a massive personal best — before today, she had never run faster than 2:03.
Getachew’s time will echo across the globe as it took over a second off of Athing Mu’s previous world leader of 1:57.73. It is only one race, but the clock does not lie: Getachew is very much in the medal hunt for Tokyo now.
World, meet Werkwuha Getachew. We have a new world leader in the women’s 800 as she lowered her pb from 2:00.20 to 1:56.67 to win the Ethiopian Trials!!! https://t.co/EeDOO7NFNZ pic.twitter.com/2RjfwlgjAE
— LetsRun.com (@letsrundotcom) June 8, 2021
|5||105||Werkwuha Getachew||Senior Women||1:56,67||1||2:00,20|
|6||57||Habitam Alemu||Senior Women||1:58,16||2||1:56,71|
|4||107||Worknesh Mesele||Senior Women||1:58,71||3||2:03,20|
|3||82||Netsanet Desta||Senior Women||1:59,39||4||2:00,90|
|7||68||Mahlet Mulugeta||Senior Women||2:02,21||5||1:59,84|
|2||31||Ayal Dagnachew||U20 Women||2:05,83||6||2:03,60|
|1||84||Qsanet Alem||U20 Women||2:12,48||7||2:03,70|
|8||1||Souliath Saka||Senior Women||DNF||—|
Women’s 1500: Freweyni Hailu introduces herself with a 3:57.33
20-year-old Freweyni Hailu, who was 5th in the world junior 800 in 2018, came into the race with a modest 4:04.20 pb, which she achieved in winning in Ostrava on May 19. She left the race with a world lead of 3:57.33 thanks to a 60-second final lap.
World junior 800 champ Diribe Welteji was second in a big pb of 3:58.93 (previous pb: 4:09.7). National champ Lemlem Hailu, the 20-year-old who ran 8:29 indoors this year, was third in a pb of 4:00.35 (previous pb of 4:02.97) as Tigist Ketema, the 2016 world junior bronze medalist at 800, lowered her pb from 4:05.09 to 4:00.91 to finish fourth.
|4||49||Freweyni Hailu||Senior Women||3:57,33||1||4:04,20|
|1||42||Diribe Welteji||U20 Women||3:58,93||2||—|
|6||65||Lemlem Hailu||Senior Women||4:00,35||3||4:02,97|
|3||99||Tigist Ketema||Senior Women||4:00,91||4||4:05,09|
|2||62||Hirut Meshesha||Senior Women||4:02,79||5||4:06,30|
|5||117||Judith Kiyeng||Senior Women||4:05,29||6||4:03,87|
|7||25||Alemaz Samuel||Senior Women||4:19,06||7||4:01,78|
Women’s steeple: National record holder Mekides Abebe gets it done
Mekides Abebe, who ran a national record of 9:02.52 on May 28 in Doha, lived up to her favored status and got the win in 9:13.63 but she had to dig deep to edge Lomi Muleta, who lowered her pb from 9:31 to 9:14.03 in second. Agrie Belachew, the 2016 world junior bronze medallist, also picked up the Olympic standard in third in 9:27.83.
|9||72||Mekides Abebe||Senior Women||9:13,63||1||9:02,52|
|5||67||Lomi Muleta||Senior Women||9:14,03||2||9:31,03|
|4||111||Zerfe Wondmagegn||U20 Women||9:16,95||3||9:33,27|
|3||24||Agrie Belachew||Senior Women||9:27,83||4||9:34,05|
|8||131||Peruth Chemutai||Senior Women||9:33,74||5||9:13,09|
|7||37||Birtukan Adamu||Senior Women||9:39,91||6||9:20,37|
|1||36||Birhan Gebregiorgis||Senior Women||9:42,27||7||10:06,60|
|2||29||Asimarech Naga||Senior Women||9:49,29||8||9:55,14|
|6||106||Weynshet Ansa||Senior Women||10:00,76||9||9:30,03|
|10||124||Lotte Krause||Senior Women||DNF||—|
Men’s 10,000: Barega outsprints Kejelcha for the win
Selemon Barega is another athlete who made a curious choice by lining up for the 10,000 here rather than the 5,000, the event in which he is the fifth-fastest man in history and the reigning World Championship silver medalist. Barega backed up his decision by winning the 10k, outsprinting 2019 World Championship silver medalist Yomif Kejelcha and Berihu Aregawi, the bronze medalist at the 2018 World U20 champs, to win in 26:49.51, missing his pb by .02. Kejelcha clocked 26:49.73 and Aregawi 26:50.37 as those three were clear of the field at the bell and should comprise the Ethiopian Olympic team. Hagos Gebrhiwet, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist at 5k, was fourth in 26:57.15.
|20||88||Selemon Barega||Senior Men||26:49,51||1||26:49,46|
|22||110||Yomif Kejelcha||Senior Men||26:49,73||2||26:46,79|
|11||34||Berihu Aregawi||Senior Men||26:50,37||3||27:48,41|
|21||59||Hagos Gebrhiwet||Senior Men||26:57,16||4||26:48,95|
|5||92||Tadese Worku||U20 Men||26:58,30||5||28:24,40|
|9||115||Daniel Mateiko||Senior Men||27:03,94||6||30:46,40|
|3||119||Timothy Kibet Kosgei||Senior Men||27:17,41||7||—|
|14||133||Stephen Kissa||Senior Men||27:26,46||8||27:34,48|
|12||10||Abrar Osman||Senior Men||27:37,16||9||27:41,69|
|1||52||Getaneh Molla||Senior Men||27:44,61||10||—|
|2||28||Antenayeh Dagnachew||Senior Men||27:49,41||11||—|
|18||93||Tamirat Tola||Senior Men||27:54,95||12||26:57,33|
|16||11||Aron Kifle||Senior Men||28:00,55||13||27:09,92|
|8||13||Filmon Ande||Senior Men||28:04,67||14||28:17,29|
|10||14||Mogos Shumay||Senior Men||28:21,83||15||27:56,98|
|15||80||Mogos Tuemay||Senior Men||28:22,83||16||27:23,49|
|4||33||Bayelign Teshager||Senior Men||28:36,43||17||28:31,03|
|19||27||Andamlak Belihu||Senior Men||DNS||26:53,15|
|6||39||Chala Regasa||Senior Men||DNF||28:32,30|
|7||94||Taye Girma||Senior Men||DNF||28:23,30|
|13||137||Kirubel Erassa||Senior Men||DNF||27:32,89|
|17||125||Richard Douma||Senior Men||DNF||—|
Men’s Steeplechase: Wale and Girma Don’t Run
In 2019, four Ethiopian men broke 8:10 in the steeplechase but none of them started here. That’s a massive break for anyone hoping to medal in Tokyo as 2019 world silver medallist Lamecha Girma (8:01.36 pb) was a DNS and Getnet Wale, who ran a 7:24 3000 indoors, opted for the 5000.
The winner of the men’s race was 18-year-old Bikila Tadese Takele, who lowered his pb from 8:14.88 to 8:09.37. Abrham Sime, the 2018 Youth Olympic champion, was second in a pb of 8:12.11 (8:23.48 previous pb) with Hailemariyam Amare third in 8:21.15.
|6||35||Bikila Tadese Takele||Ethiopia||U20 Men||8:09,37||1||8:14,88|
|5||19||Abrham Sime||Ethiopia||Senior Men||8:12,11||2||8:23,48|
|7||60||Hailemariyam Amare||Ethiopia||Senior Men||8:21,15||3||8:13,39|
|1||86||Samuel Frew||Ethiopia||U18 Mannen||8:23,62||4||8:45,40|
|2||96||Tegenu Mengistu||Ethiopia||Senior Men||8:28,33||5||8:42,30|
|4||7||Mohamed Ismail||Djibouti||Senior Men||8:28,96||6||8:23,65|
|3||128||Boniface Abel Sikowo||Uganda||Senior Men||8:33,74||7||8:25,91|
|8||64||Lamecha Girma||Ethiopia||Senior Men||DNS||8:01,36|
Men’s 5000: Wale wins it in world-leading 12:53
There were a few raised eyebrows when Getnet Wale, the 2019 Diamond League champion and fourth-placer at Worlds in the steeple, opted for the 5,000 at this meet. But Wale has expressed interest in running the 5k, and his 7:24.90 indoor 3k in February — a time just .08 off Daniel Komen’s world record — showed he has serious flat ability too.
Wale showed today he knows what he is doing, winning the 5k in a personal best and world-leading time of 12:53.28. In fact, the top three men all ran big pbs, with Wale (previous pb: 13:13.87), runner-up Nibret Melak (13:07.27 to 12:54.22) and third placer Milkesa Mengesha, the world U20 XC champ (13:25.74 to 12:58.28) all breaking 13:00 for the first time.
The other notable result was that Muktar Edris, the two-time defending world champion, was just fifth in 13:04.69. If Edris is to add to his titles in Tokyo, he will need some help from the Ethiopian federation.
|11||54||Getnet Wale||Senior Men||12:53,28||1||13:13,87|
|16||83||Nibret Melak||Senior Men||12:54,22||2||13:07,27|
|6||78||Milkesa Mengesha||Senior Men||12:58,28||3||13:25,74|
|5||21||Addisu Yehune||U20 Men||12:58,99||4||13:45,80|
|19||81||Muktar Edris||Senior Men||13:04,69||5||12:54,83|
|12||109||Yasin Haji||Senior Men||13:05,62||6||13:10,67|
|17||90||Solomon Berihu||Senior Men||13:08,07||7||13:02,08|
|7||118||Samwel Chebolei Masai||Senior Men||13:12,55||8||13:23,99|
|4||26||Ali Abdulmena||U20 Men||13:20,28||9||13:56,00|
|10||50||Gemechu Dida||Senior Men||13:20,89||10||13:17,47|
|8||16||Samuel Habtom||U20 Men||13:23,15||11||13:25,48|
|1||51||Getachew Masresha||Senior Men||13:38,47||12||—|
|9||58||Haftu Teklu||Senior Men||13:40,54||13||13:15,61|
|3||69||Mebrahtu Werkineh||U20 Men||13:41,92||14||—|
|2||3||Abdi Waiss||Senior Men||DNF||—|
|13||41||Dawit Wolde||Senior Men||DNF||13:10,13|
|14||136||Ouassim Oumaiz||Senior Men||DNF||13:13,14|
|15||130||Farid Wabutwa||Senior Men||DNF||—|
|18||97||Telahun Haile Bekele||Senior Men||DNF||12:52,98|
Men’s 1500: Teddese Lemi upsets world indoor champ Samuel Tefera
World indoor champion Samuel Tefera, fresh off a 3:32 run in Doha on May 28, started as the favorite in this race as one of just two Ethiopians with the 3:35.00 Olympic standard (the other is Selemon Barega). By the end of the race, the entire Ethiopian 1500 scene had been turned on its head, as Tefera could only manage third, with six Ethiopians running under the Tokyo standard, led by race winner Teddese Lemi, who pulled away from Tefera over the final 100m to win in 3:31.90, a 3+ second pb.
The 22-year old Lemi entered the race with PBs of 1:46.00 for 800 and 3:35.09 for 1500.
With the Wavelight pacing lights towing the field along, the race was very fast, with the top six men, all Ethiopian, breaking 3:35. That’s bad news for any men’s athletes on the Olympic bubble. Prior to today, Ethiopia was only in position to send one athlete to Tokyo in the men’s 1500 (assuming Barega opted 10k) as no one outside of Tefera or Barega was ranked highly enough in the world rankings to earn a bid. But with the flurry of Olympic standards, Ethiopia can send a full team of three, meaning fewer rankings spots available for everyone else.
— LetsRun.com (@letsrundotcom) June 8, 2021
|16||95||Teddese Lemi||Senior Men||3:31,90||1||3:35,09|
|14||85||Samuel Abate||Senior Men||3:32,80||2||3:36,30|
|17||87||Samuel Tefera||Senior Men||3:33,06||3||3:31,39|
|15||73||Melese Nberet||Senior Men||3:33,55||4||3:36,49|
|5||75||Melkeneh Azeze||U18 Mannen||3:33,74||5||3:43,40|
|7||104||Wegene Addisu||U18 Mannen||3:34,21||6||3:43,90|
|11||120||Anass Essayi||Senior Men||3:34,58||7||3:36,47|
|12||135||Mohamed Al Garni||Senior Men||3:37,28||8||3:34,61|
|3||22||Adihana Kasaye||U20 Men||3:39,21||9||3:44,50|
|9||9||Abderezak Suleman||U20 Men||3:40,53||10||3:39,48|
|8||55||Girma Diriba||U20 Men||3:41,34||11||3:41,50|
|6||74||Melkamu Zegeye Webu||U20 Men||3:43,59||12||3:43,40|
|4||8||Nabil Mahdi||U20 Men||3:44,30||13||3:44,77|
|13||134||Hamza Driouch||Senior Men||3:46,47||14||3:33,69|
|10||127||Robin Van Riel||Senior Men||3:49,37||15||3:39,89|
|2||4||Ahmed Daher||Senior Men||3:52,04||16||3:51,51|
|18||113||Tamás Kazi||Senior Men||DNF||—|
In the men’s 800, no one came close to the Olympic standard of 1:45.20 as Morocco’s Elhassane Moujahid won in 1:46.28.
|4||121||Elhassane Moujahid||Senior Men||1:46,28||1||1:46,50|
|1||32||Bacha Morka||Senior Men||1:46,39||2||1:47,10|
|3||98||Temam Tura||Senior Men||1:46,50||3||1:46,17|
|4||23||Adisu Girma||Senior Men||1:46,51||4||1:46,36|
|2||44||Ephrem Mekonnen||Senior Men||1:46,61||5||1:54,49|
|5||114||John Fitzsimons||Senior Men||1:46,63||6||1:46,53|
|2||40||Daniel Wolde||U20 Men||1:46,85||7||1:53,57|
|6||45||Ermiyas Girma||U18 Mannen||1:47,45||8||1:47,60|
|7||100||Tolesa Bodena||Senior Men||1:48,12||9||1:45,56|
|6||126||Rick Van Riel||U20 Men||1:48,31||10||1:48,03|
|8||112||Márton Pápai||Senior Men||DNF||—|
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- Official 2020 Ethiopian Olympic Trials Discusion Thread. Free stream.
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- Who was the biggest winner at the Ethiopian Olympic Trials – Shelby Houlihan, Laura Muir or Evan Jager ?
10k WR Recap: LRC Letesenbet Gidey Breaks Sifan Hassan’s 2-Day Old 10,000 World Record, Runs 29:01.03 in Hengelo Gidey ran an incredibly 14:18 second half, with a 4:26 final 1600 to break Hassan’s mark on the very same track that Hassan set her record on Sunday.