Dejen Gebremeskel

Dejen Gebremeskel (born 24 November 1989) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who primarily competes in track events. His personal best of 12:46.81 minutes for the 5000 metres ranks him as the fifth fastest of all time for the distance.[2] He was the 5000 m silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics and took the bronze medal over that distance at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.

Dejen Gebremeskel
2012-06-07 Bislett Games Dejen Gebremeskel.jpg
Gebremeskel in 2012
Personal information
Born (1989-11-24) 24 November 1989 (age 30)
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Weight58 kg (128 lb)
Country Ethiopia
SportTrack and field
Event(s)3000 m, 5000 m

He won his first track medals as a junior, coming second at the African Junior Athletics Championships, then taking the bronze medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He was a finalist at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2010 and 2012. He is a five-time winner of the Carlsbad 5000.


Junior careerEdit

Dejen Gebremeskel grew up in the rural setting of Ethiopia's Gulo-Makeda woreda and took up running as a child, representing his school.[3] He began competing around the Tigray Region and after establishing himself in local races, he moved to Addis Ababa to train with the national team.[4]

He won his first international medal at the 2007 African Junior Athletics Championships, taking the silver medal over 5000 metres behind Mathew Kisorio.[5] He had also competed abroad for the first time that year, running a personal best of 13:21.05 minutes to take sixth in the 5000 m at the Flanders Cup meeting in Brasschaat.[6] He ran for Ethiopia at the International Chiba Ekiden in 2008 and helped the team to victory, running the fastest time for his leg of the road relay.[7]

Dejen Gebremeskel (top centre) running in Birmingham in 2010.

Representing the Ethiopian Banks team, he won the junior title at the 2007 Addis Ababa cross country race, beating Hunegnaw Mesfin by a second.[8] He was fourth in the junior category at the 2008 Ethiopian Cross Country Championships and was selected for the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where he finished 18th (just outside the Ethiopian team which won the silver medal).[9] Back on the track, he ran at the Adidas Track Classic in May and set a new personal best of 13:08.96 minutes, second only to Ali Abdosh.[10] He was among the fastest entrants at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Athletics and took the 5000 m bronze medal while his compatriot Abreham Cherkos won the gold.[11]

Start of senior careerEdit

At the 2009 Ethiopian cross country trials in February, he came in third place.[12] His main focus for the year was on track races and he had a successful transition into the senior ranks, winning at the Adidas Track Classic in May then improved his 5000 m best to 13:03.13 min by taking third at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City, where he was beaten only by Olympic medalists Micah Kogo and Bernard Lagat.[13] He ran a 3000 metres best of 7:58.69 m at the Prefontaine Classic and came fourth at that year's London Grand Prix.[6]

Dejen competed indoors for the first time the following year and was second at the Boston Indoor Games behind Lagat.[14] He was also the runner-up at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix two weeks later and was selected to represent Ethiopia over 3000 m at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships. He ran the second fastest qualifying time (a personal best of 7:44.26 min),[15] but did not perform as well in the event final, coming tenth.[6] Outdoors, he was second at the Carlsbad 5000, the Prefontaine Classic, and the DN Galan (at which he ran a personal best of 12:53.56 min for the 5000 m).[6][16]

World and Olympic medalsEdit

Dejen (centre) racing against Mo Farah and Imane Merga in the 2011 World Championships final

He continued to focus on the track in 2011 and at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix he defeated Mo Farah in unusual circumstances – Dejen lost a shoe on the first lap of the race, but he persisted and won in a time of 7:35.37 minutes, one of the fastest 3000 m runs that year.[17][18] He debuted over the 10K road distance later that month and was runner-up to Sammy Kitwara at the World's Best 10K with a time of 27:45 min.[19] He won the Carlsbad 5K race in April, holding off Eliud Kipchoge,[20] and took his first win on the Diamond League circuit with a victory at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City.[21] A run of 12:55.89 min at the Golden Gala made him Ethiopia's second fastest 5000 m runner that season and he was selected for the national team for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.[22] He comfortably progressed through the qualifying round and the 5000 m final came down to a four-way battle between himself, Farah, Lagat and Imane Merga. He was the last of the quartet to cross the line, but Imane Merga was disqualified after the medal ceremony as he had run outside of the track lanes. Dejen was promoted to the bronze medal, repeating his placing from the junior ranks three years previously.[23][24]

Dejen improved his 3000 m best to 7:34.14 minutes at the XL Galan, but was a little slower at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships, placing fifth in the event.[25] He won the Carlsbad 5000 for a second year running in March 2012.[26] Two 5000 m wins on the 2012 IAAF Diamond League circuit, including a personal best of 12:46.81 minutes, making him the fifth fastest ever over the distance and earning him selection for the 2012 Summer Olympics.[25] At the Olympics in London, he was the fastest qualifier in winning his heat. In the final he chased Mo Farah over the final lap, but did not managed to catch the Briton and took the silver medal behind him.[27] He ended the year with a fourth-place finish at the Weltklasse Zurich, finishing second in the Diamond League rankings after Isaiah Kiplangat Koech.

A third straight win at the Carlsbad race opened his outdoor season in 2013.[28] At the 2013 World Championships in Athletics, Gebremeskel finished 16th in the 10,000 metres in a time of 27.51.88. In 2013, Gebremeskel held the world leading time for 10,000 metres of 26:51.02, which he set at the Folksam Grand Prix in Sollentuna, Sweden.

Capping off his 2014 indoor season, Gebremeskel scored a bronze medal in the 3000 metres with a time of 7:55.39 at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Moscow, Russia. Gebremeskel went on to win his fourth straight Carlsbad 5000 race in 13:13, this time over American rival Bernard Lagat.

Major competition recordEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   Ethiopia
2008 World Junior Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 3rd 5000 m 13:11.97
2010 World Indoor Championships Doha, Qatar 10th 3000 m 7:48.69
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 3rd 5000 m 13:23.92
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 5th 3000 m 7:42.60
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 2nd 5000 m 13:41.98
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 16th 10,000 m 27:51.88
2014 World Indoor Championships Sopot, Poland 3rd 3000 m 7:55.39
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 12th 5000 m 13:15.91

Personal bestsEdit

  • 3000 metres – 7:34.14 min (2012)
  • 5000 metres – 13:11.78 min (2010)


  1. ^ Dejen Gebremeskel Archived 26 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ 5000 Metres – men – senior – outdoor. IAAF. Retrieved on 8 April 2013.
  3. ^ Yohannes, Sabrina (8 February 2008). A Brief Chat With Dejen Gebremeskel. Runner's World. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  4. ^ Dejen Gebremeskel Archived 27 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Global Athletics. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
  5. ^ 2007 African Junior Championships Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. World Junior Athletics History. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Gebremeskel Dejen. IAAF. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
  7. ^ Nakamura, Ken (24 November 2008). Ethiopia sweeps Chiba Ekiden. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  8. ^ Negash, Elshadai (1 January 2008). Jelila and Debele take Addis Ababa Cross Country titles. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  9. ^ Official Team Results Junior Race – M Archived 18 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF (30 March 2008). Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  10. ^ Lee, Kirby (18 May 2008). Stuczynski soars to 4.90m American Record in Carson. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  11. ^ Halford, Paul (13 July 2008). 2008 WJC Men's 5000m. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  12. ^ Negash, Elshadai (22 February 2009). Ayalew's surprise, Gebremariam's comeback highlight Ethiopia’s World Cross Country trials. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  13. ^ 2008 Reebok Grand Prix Men's 5000m Archived 1 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
  14. ^ Vigneron, Peter (February 2010). Lagat Breaks American 5K Record in Boston. Running Times. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
  15. ^ Landells, Steve (12 March 2010). EVENT REPORT – MEN's 3000m Heats. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  16. ^ Cruz, Dan (12 August 2010). Defar and Kipchoge prevail in Carlsbad. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  17. ^ Morse, Parker (6 February 2011). 'One shoe' Gebremeskel holds off Farah; Kipyego world lead in Boston. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  18. ^ 3000 Metres 2011. IAAF. Retrieved on 4 September 2011.
  19. ^ Robinson, Javier Clavelo (28 February 2011). Kitwara regains title, Ejigu notches victorious 10km debut in San Juan. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  20. ^ Cruz, Dan (4 April 2011). Gebremeskel and Kiros take Carlsbad 5Km victories. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  21. ^ Martin, Dave (11 June 2011). Mullings edges Gay in rain swept New York – Samsung Diamond League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  22. ^ Martin, David (22 August 2011). Men's 5000m – PREVIEW Archived 27 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  23. ^ Martin, David (4 September 2011). Men's 5000m – Final – Farah first European winner since 1983 Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  24. ^ Britain's Mo Farah wins 5000m world title. AFP (4 September 2011). Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
  25. ^ a b Focus on Athletes – Dejen Gebremeskel, Ethiopia Archived 7 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF (10 August 2012). Retrieved on 2013-04-08.
  26. ^ Rosenthal, Bert (2 April 2012). Gebremeskel, Dibaba Win Carlsbad 5000. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-03.
  27. ^ Ramsak, Bob (11 August 2012). London 2012 – Event Report – Men's 5000m Final. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-04-08.
  28. ^ Third win in a row for Gebremeskel, Burka makes Ethiopian double in Carlsbad. IAAF (8 April 2013). Retrieved on 2013-04-08.

External linksEdit