İlham Tanui Özbilen

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İlham Tanui Özbilen
İlham Tanui Özbilen.JPG
Personal information
Birth name William Biwott Tanui
Nationality  Turkey
Born (1990-03-05) March 5, 1990 (age 24)
Kocholwo, Keiyo District, Kenya
Height 1.77 m (5.8 ft)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb)
Sport Middle-distance
Coached by Patrick Sang  Romania
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

İlham Tanui Özbilen (born William Biwott Tanui on 5 March 1990 in Kocholwo, Keiyo District, Kenya) is a middle distance runner now representing Turkey. The 1.77 m (5.8 ft) tall athlete weighs 60 kg (130 lb).[1] He is coached by Romanian Carol Santa.[2]

Career in Kenya[edit]

Özbilen, then competing as William Biwott Tanui, won the 1500 metres at the 2009 World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki, Greece.[3] He holds the current world junior record in the mile run with his clocking of 3:49.29 minutes, achieved in Oslo on 3 July 2009.[4] He was also part of the Kenyan team (with Gideon Gathimba, Geoffrey Kipkoech Rono and Augustine Kiprono Choge) that set a new world record of 14:36.23 in the rarely contested 4 x 1500 metres relay at the 2009 Memorial Van Damme Golden League meeting in Brussels, Belgium.[5]

Turkish citizenship[edit]

He switched allegiance to Turkey in June 2011, changing his name to İlham Tanui Özbilen. His surname was given him by his godfather and manager Önder Özbilen, who persuaded him in December 2010 in Kenya to immigrate to Turkey. He moved in February 2011 to Turkey, and was naturalized on June 8, 2011.[2][6] While he would normally have been ineligible to internationally represent his adoptive country until June 8, 2013,[6][7] it was announced in February 2012 that he had received permission from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete for Turkey starting with the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.[1][7][8][9]

İlham Tanui Özbilen won the silver medal for Turkey in the 1500 m event at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey. At the 2013 Mediterranean Games held in Mersin, Turkey, he became gold medalist in the 1500 m event.

At the 2013 Islamic Solidarity Games held in Palembang, Indonesia, he wond a gold medal in the 1500 m event, a bronze medal in the 800 m event and a silver medal in the 4x400 m relay event with his teammates Batuhan Altıntaş, Halit Kılıç and Mehmet Güzel.[10]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Kenya
2009 Memorial Van Damme Brussels, Belgium 1st 4x1500 m relay 14:36.23 WR
7th World Athletics Final Thessaloniki, Greece 1st 1500 m 3:35.04
Representing  Turkey
2012 14th World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 2nd 1500 m 3:45.35
2013 European Team Championships Super League Gateshead, Great Britain 2nd 800 m 1:47.39
2nd 1500 m 3:38.57
32nd European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 2nd 1500 m 3:37.22 SB
17th Mediterranean Games Mersin, Turkey 1st 800 m 1:44.00 GR
1st 1500 m 3:35.09 SB
3rd Islamic Solidarity Games Palembang, Indonesia 3rd 800 m 1:45.65
1st 1500 m 3:39.69
2nd 4×400 m relay 3:06.43


  • WR - World record
  • GR - Games record
  • SB - Season's best


  1. ^ a b "Tanui ve Kemboi için onay çıktı". Birgün (in Turkish). 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Türkiye vatanım!". HT Spor (in Turkish). 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  3. ^ Ilham Tanui Özbilen profile at IAAF
  4. ^ "World Junior Records - Men". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  5. ^ David Powell (2009-09-04). "Oldest World record goes down in Brussels as Kenya dominates 4x1500". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  6. ^ a b "IAAF News - Newsletter". IAAF. 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  7. ^ a b Butler, Mark. "14th IAAF World Championships - Biographical Entry List" (pdf). IAAF. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  8. ^ "Turkish athletes of Kenyan origin on board national team". Today's Zaman. 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  9. ^ "IAAF'tan iyi haber!" (in Turkish). Sporx. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  10. ^ "Athletics-Results". The 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games. Retrieved 2013-10-03.