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Who are the 5 most successful Ethiopian athletes?

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Tirunesh Dibaba
Tirunesh Dibaba. Photo/Athletics Weekly
  • Ethiopian athletes have a reputation when it comes to long-distance running
  • They have constantly smashed records in international competitions for more than 50 years
  • These men and women give their already-proud country even more cause for celebration

Ethiopian athletes have constantly smashed records in international competitions for more than 50 years. They are a national pride but who are the most successful Ethiopian athletes?

These men and women give their already-proud country even more cause for celebration. With his pioneering and legendary athletic career, Abebe Bikila demonstrated to the world the sporting prowess of Africans.

East African domination in long distance running began with his victory, and it still reverberates today. Ethiopian long-distance runners are regarded as the best in the world, although the tournaments in which they compete could be more diverse.

That said, let’s dig into the most successful Ethiopian athletes.


Haile Gebrselassie.

Haile Gebrselassie. [AIPS Media]

Born on born April 18, 1973, Ethiopian long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie competes in both road and track events.

Many consider him the greatest long distance runner of all time.

He has two Olympic golds and four World Championship championships in the over 10,000 metre event.

Haile also won the Berlin Marathon four times in a row and the Dubai Marathon three times in a row. Both are incredible feats of endurance.

He also won four indoor world championships and the 2001 World Half Marathon Championships. He won numerous world titles in the 1500-meter and marathon distances, but he preferred to focus on road running rather than cross-country or indoor running.

The now decorated entrepreneur back in Addis Ababa is among the most successful Ethiopian athletes


Kenenisa Bekele

Kenenisa Bekele training. Photo/KBC

Kenenisa Bekele’s training is part of the reason he is among the most successful Ethiopian athletes.

The 39-year-old legend is a three-time Olympic champion, 5000m and 10,000m world record holder.

He is the third-fastest marathoner in history, on an ordinary day. And the secret is in Kenenisa Bekele training. So, how does he do it? Here are the details and much more.

Bekele is unquestionably an icon of distance running. He has Olympic, World, World Indoor, and World Cross Country champions accolade that no other Ethiopian runner has – thanks to Kenenisa Bekele training.

He has 21 worldwide titles (including U20 titles) and six world records all of which he won during his dazzling career. But most of it also has something to do with the Oromia region where he was born and brought up.

Ethiopia’s Oromia area has produced many of the world’s best long-distance runners. Bekele is not an exception. Just 12 months later quitting football, he won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships short and long course.

He also won gold medals in Dublin, Ireland, for the second year in a row. After his victory in Dublin, he went on to rule the world in both track and cross country.

Kenenisa finished his career with a total of nine World Cross Country titles, five World outdoor track titles, and three Olympic crowns. He became the first man since his fellow countryman Miruts Yifter to complete the 5000m and 10,000m double at the 2004 Athens Games and the 2008 Beijing Games.


Tirunesh Dibaba, a long-distance runner known as the “Baby Faced Destroyer,” was born on June 1, 1985. She presently holds the outdoor 5000-meter world record.

To date, Tirunesh has five World Championship and three Olympic gold medals in the sport of track and field under her belt. She also has four World Cross Country adult titles and one World Cross Country junior title under his belt.

Her siblings are all accomplished athletes who have earned a slew of prestigious honours.


To date, she is the only African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the women’s long-distance runner event.

At the 10,000 metre race, she took gold in Barcelona in 1992 ranking her among the most successful Ethiopian athletes.

Derartu also took home gold and silver at the 1995 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

She became the first and only female Olympian to win the 10,000-meter event’s gold medal twice in 2000.

There were six gold medals for Derartu at the Olympics and other international tournaments.

When she was older, Derartu shifted her concentration to marathons, where she was successful, winning numerous titles in the process.

Derartu continued to compete into her late thirties until 2011, despite the fact that all of her previous competitors had since retired.


Genzebe Dibaba takes charge at Diamond League in Morocco - Sports Leo

Genzebe Dibaba 1500m gold – World Championships 2015

When it comes to long-distance running, Genzebe Dibaba, who was born on February 8, 1991, is best known for becoming the only person in history to hold the most world records simultaneously.

Many consider Genzebe the finest female miler of all time. She deserves a spot on the most successful Ethiopian athletes.

Laureus Sportswoman of the Year in 2014 and IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2015 both went to Genzebe due to her slew of victories on the track.

There were also two 1500-meter events in which she took the silver medal, one in the indoor and one the outdoor Beijing World Championships.

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