Four Defending Champions to Lead Ethiopian Lineup at WAC Budapest 23

ADDIS ABABA – The four athletes who won gold at the last year’s championships will headline the Ethiopian Athletics team at the Budapest 23.

The  2023 World Athletics Championships will kick off with an opening ceremony on August 19, 2023.

This year, Ethiopia will be represented by 35 athletes in the world’s third-largest sporting event. 

The marathon runners got the preparation underway almost a month ago and the other long and middle-distance runners joined the team days later.

The team is now carrying out on and off-track training sessions in and around rainy Addis Ababa despite the weather difference with the world championship host Budapest currently at its warmest.

“My teammates and I are training hard as per the programs set out by our coaches,” the 5000m world champion Gudaf Tsegay said on Wednesday.

The athlete not only won the women’s 5000m race but also brought in silver in the 15000m in the Oregon 22.

“Only God knows what will happen this time… we are getting ready as a team,” said Gudaf, who will defend her title in 5000m and also run 10,000m in Budapest. 

A victory in Budapest will put Gudaf alongside Meseret Defar, Almaz Ayana, and Muktar Edris who won the gold medal for Ethiopia at the world championships twice.

The same record awaits Letesenbet Girmay, Gotytom Gebreslase, and Tamirat Tola who will defend their titles in the 10,000m, Women’s and Men’s marathon races, respectively.

The expectation is also high for 3000m steeplechase record-holder Lemecha Girma, as well as world leaders – Yomif Kejelcha in 5000m and Berihu Aregawi in 10,000m

The team also features the 10,000m Olympic champion Selemon Barega, and the 18-year-old world U20 mile record holder Birke Haylom. A confirmed full team list of participating athletes is expected to be released over the weekend.

Defending 2022 WAC record

After finishing second in the 2022 championships with 10 medals, Ethiopia will participate in six of the 12 disciplines in Budapest 23. 

These events include both women’s and Men’s 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m, and Marathon races, plus the women’s 800m.

The aim will be to defend the record achieved last year, according to assistant technical team head Tolosa Kotu. The athletes are in good shape both physically and mentally, Tolosa said.

The training sessions they are in are focused on improving performance and finishing time in each event with a view of achieving the overall target or even“better last year’s results”, per the coach.

The athletes will leave for Budapest at different stages of the competition after an official send-off event the Athletics Federation will host for the team on Sunday.

Tirunesh, Kenenisa and Haile

Tirunesh (L), Kenenisa (C), and Haile (R) won 14 of the total 33 gold medals won by Ethiopian athletes at the World Athletics Championships, to date.

More than 2,100 athletes from 202 countries will compete between 19-27 August, in front of hundreds of thousands of fans in Budapest and more than a billion TV viewers globally.

Ethiopia’s Record at the WACs so far

This is the 19th time the world athletics championships will take place in Hungary’s National Athletics Centre.

Ethiopia participated in all of the previous 18 championships and failed to appear in the medal table only on one occasion. The National team has so far collected a whopping 101 medals including:

  • 33 Gold through 19 athletes,
  • 34 Silver medals through 28 athletes, and 
  • 28 Bronze medals through 25 athletes.

Three athletes – Kenenisa Bekele (5), Tirunesh Dibaba (5), and Haile Gebrselassie (4) – contributed 14 of the total 33 gold medals.