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Tsegai Tewelde (born 8 December 1989)[1] is an Eritrean-born British distance runner, who competed in the marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Personal lifeEdit

Tewelde was born in Eritrea on 8 December 1989. At the age of eight, he was injured in a land mine explosion that killed a friend of his, leaving him with a scar on his forehead after he was hit by shrapnel.[2][3]

In 2008, he and six other members of the Eritrean team sought political asylum in the United Kingdom following the World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh.[2] The athletes feared they would be tortured or face military service for failing to finish higher in the event.[4] He was granted a British passport in the autumn of 2015.[5]


Tewelde competed at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics in the 1500 metres, finishing fifth in a time of 3 minutes 42.10 seconds and setting a national junior record.[1][6] In 2007 he placed 17th in the junior's race at the World Cross Country Championships.[7]

At the 2008 World Championships he finished 19th in the junior's race in a time of 23 minutes and 48 seconds.[7] Following this race he applied for asylum in the UK.[6] He later joined Shettleston Harriers athletics club, he return home after becoming British and trained hard for his london marathon [6]

In 2015 he finished Great Scottish Run in a time of 1 hour 3 minutes and 34 seconds, taking fourth place overall and the silver medal for Scottish athletes.[8]

At the 2016 London Marathon, competing over the distance for the first time, Tewelde finished twelfth overall, and was the second British-qualified athlete to finish, in a time of 2 hours 12 minutes and 57 seconds. This time was inside the qualifying time of 2 hours 14 minutes needed to earn him a place in the Great Britain team for the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[9][10] He did not finish (DNF) in the men's marathon, while fellow British athletes, brothers Callum and Derek Hawkins finished 9th and 114th respectively.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Athlete Profile Tsegai Tewelde". British Athletics. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Lewis, Jane (26 April 2016). "Rio 2016: Tsegai Tewelde living Olympic dream after London Marathon". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  3. ^ Gillon, Doug (18 May 2013). "The world-class talent Scotland left abandoned and ignored". The Herald. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  4. ^ Gordon, Moira. "Scottish marathon runner Tsegai Tewelde escapes tragic past". The Scotsman. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  5. ^ Gillon, Doug (26 April 2016). "Marathon hero: I risked my life to visit sick mother in Eritrea". The Herald. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Fearing for their lives, six Eritrean athletes absconded while in Scotland – and found a new home with a Glasgow running club". The Scotsman. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Tsegai Tewelde Athlete Profile". IAAF. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Brilliant Callum now ready for marathon". Scottish Athletics. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  9. ^ Ingle, Sean (24 April 2016). "London Marathon: Tsegai Tewelde and Callum Hawkins make British Olympic team". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  10. ^ "London Marathon: Callum Hawkins and Tsegai Tewelde seal Rio places". BBC Sport. 24 April 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.