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Abeba Aregawi Gebretsadik (Amharic:አበባ አረጋዊ ;born 5 July 1990) is an Ethiopian-born middle-distance runner from Tigray, who specialised in the 1500 metres. Her personal best for the event is 3:56.54. Aregawi is the 2013 world champion over 1500 metres. She represented Sweden internationally. However after failing a drugs test and being banned from the sport it emerged that she had never gained Swedish citizenship and had lied to the Swedish federation in order to compete for them.

Abeba Aregawi
Abeba Aregawi Göteborg 2013.jpg
Abeba Aregawi competing for Sweden in 2013
Personal information
Swedish (since June 2012)
Born (1990-07-05) 5 July 1990 (age 29)
Adigrat, Ethiopia
ResidenceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia
Event(s)1500 metres

Abeba was born in Adigrat, Ethiopia, and holds both Swedish and Ethiopian citizenships. She represented her birth country in middle-distance until December 2012.[2] Abeba was married to an Ethiopian man with Swedish citizenship and allegedly lived in Stockholm 2009-2012. She is now remarried to Yemane Tsegay and lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She represented the Stockholm-based club Hammarby IF to January 2016.[3] She was naturalized as a Swedish citizen in the summer of 2012, and has represented Sweden in international competition since December 2012.[4][5]



Abeba emerged as an 800 metres runner in 2009 by winning the Ethiopian title in the event ahead of three-time champion Mestawet Tadesse.[6] She competed at a number of European meets after this then set a personal best of 2:01.98 minutes in Tangiers. Her season culminated in an 800 m bronze medal at the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships, where she finished behind Caster Semenya.[7]


She switched to the 1500 metres in the 2010 season and enjoyed success with wins at the Sollentuna Grand Prix and KBC Night of Athletics meetings, setting a personal best of 4:01.96 minutes at the latter race. She also ran on the 2010 Diamond League circuit for the first time, coming fourth at the DN Galan and seventh at the Weltklasse Zurich.


Abeba had a strong indoor season in 2011, with four straight wins in Düsseldorf, Gent, Birmingham and Stockholm, including a personal best run of 4:01.47 minutes. However, she only made one appearance outdoors as her season was stopped due to injury.[8][9]


She emerged as one of the world's top 1500 m runners on the 2012 IAAF Diamond League circuit, she won also overall title of Diamond league 2012: 1500 m. She was second to Genzebe Dibaba at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix,[10] running a best of 3:59.23 minutes. However, she defeated her rival at the Golden Gala, breaking the Ethiopian national record with a run of 3:56.54 minutes,[11] literally days before receiving Swedish citizenship, then won again at the Bislett Games.[12] Abeba won both the 800 m and the 1500 m for Hammarby IF in the Swedish team championships on June 20. Representing Ethiopia at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aregawi ran the fastest time in the 1500 metres competition. However, that was while winning the second semi-final race. In the slow, strategic final, Aregawi came off the final turn a step behind the eventual winner Aslı Çakır Alptekin, but faded badly with 20 meters to go in the final straight finishing fifth. Since 2012, both Alptekin and silver medalist Gamze Bulut have been disqualified due to doping violations. The International Olympic Committee has not announced if there will be any medal advancements in this event. In previous cases where potentially advanced athletes also have a doping violation, as is the case with Aregawi, those individuals have not been advanced.[13]


Aregawi contested her first race representing Sweden at international level during the European Indoor Championships in front of her home crowd in Gothenburg, where she won the gold medal. She won the first five Diamond League events and secured the overall title with two races left. She set the Swedish national record in the 1500 at 3:56.60 (just .06 slower than her Ethiopian record the previous season) at the first Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar. Four weeks later, she added the Swedish record at 800 metres, taking it down to 1:59.20 at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, Netherlands. Both records took down marks by Malin Ewerlöf-Krepp that were almost 15 years old.

At the World Championships in Moscow Aregawi won the gold medal at 1500 metres, Sweden's eighth gold medal since the first championships in 1983.[14]


On 6 February, Aregawi won the 1500 m race at XL Galan in Ericsson Globe at the time of 3:57.91. The time was a new European indoor record and the second best of all time. During the indoor season she also won the World Indoor Championships and took her third straight gold medal in international championships.

Later eventsEdit

On February 29, 2016, the Swedish Athletics Federation stated that Abeba had tested positive for the substance (meldonium) in January 2016.[15] She was provisionally suspended from competing the same day.[15] In July 2016, the Swedish Doping Commission lifted her suspension due to insufficient evidence on how long the drug - which was prohibited only January 2016 - takes to be excreted from the body.[16]

She returned to Ethiopia after gaining a Swedish passport. She married and has one child.

She was officially struck from the list of active by the Swedish Athletics Association on 28 November 2018. [17]


Personal bestsEdit

Track Event Time Venue Competition Date Records
Outdoor 800 m 1:59.20 Hengelo, Netherlands FBK Games 8 June 2013 Swedish record
1500 m 3:56.54 Rome, Italy Golden Gala 31 May 2012 Ethiopian record
3:56.60 Doha, Qatar Athletic Super GP 10 May 2013 Swedish record
Indoor 1500 m 3:57.91 Stockholm, Sweden XL Galan 6 February 2014 Swedish record, 2nd of all time


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Abeba Aregawi Sveriges stora guldhopp" (in Swedish) SVT. 15 August 2013
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-21. Retrieved 2016-08-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Här blir hon historisk" (in Swedish) Aftonbladet. 16 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Aregawis debut nära världsrekordet" (in Swedish) Dagens Nyheter. 16 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Ahmed and Kebede sprint for victory". IAAF. 3 May 2009. Archived 25 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "African Championships 2009" World Junior Athletics History. 10 June 2012. Archived October 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Abeba Aregawi". Tilastopaja. 10 June 2012.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Swedish Runner Aregawi wishes to compete at the Rio". July 15, 2016.
  10. ^ "Liu Xiang and G. Dibaba the standouts in rainy Shanghai". IAAF. 19 May 2012. Archived 20 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Bolt’s blazing 9.76 one of seven world leads on electric night in Rome". IAAF. 31 May 2012 Archived 2 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Bolt’s 9.79 victory tops the charts In Oslo". IAAF. 7 June 2012. Archived 10 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Abeba Aregawi: a new champion in new colors" IAAF. 15 August 2013.
  15. ^ a b SI Wire (29 February 2016). "World champion Abeba Aregawi tests positive for banned substance". Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  16. ^
  17. ^

External linksEdit