Kenenisa Bekele (born 13 June 1982) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner, who holds the world record and Olympic record in both the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres events. He won a double at the 2008 Summer Olympics in these events; he also won the 2004 Olympic title over 10,000 m.
He is the most accomplished runner in IAAF World Cross Country Championships history, with six long (12 km) course and five short (4 km) course titles. He won the 10,000 m title at the World Championships in Athletics four times running from 2003 to 2009 (matching Haile Gebrselassie's win streak). Bekele was unbeaten over 10,000 m from his debut in 2003 until 2011, when he failed to finish at the World Championships final.
At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics he became the first man to win both 5000 m and 10,000 m title at the same championships. Over 5000 m he has also won an Olympic silver (2004), World Championship bronze (2003), two African Championship titles and one All-Africa Games gold medal. He also won the 3000 metres title at the World Indoor Championships in 2006.
Bekele is one of the greatest distance runners of all time, owning several world records and an array of medals. He is the older brother of Tariku Bekele, also an accomplished world-class distance runner.
- 1 Career
- 2 Statistics
- 3 Competition record
- 4 Awards
- 5 References
- 6 External links
In August 2001 he set a new 3000 metres world junior record, 7:30.67 minutes in Brussels. The record lasted for three and a half years, being broken by Augustine Choge with a run of 7:28.78 minutes.
For five years in a row, from 2002 through 2006, he took both short (4 km) and long (12 km) races at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, a feat no other runner has accomplished even once. In 2004, he broke the world records for the indoor 5000 m, outdoor 5000 m and outdoor 10,000 m.
Kenenisa is renowned for his ability to accelerate very quickly at the end of a long distance race; in Oslo in June 2003, Bekele chased after Kenyan Abraham Chebii and ran a 54.64 final 400 to win the race in 12:52.26. Again in Lausanne on 1 July 2003, Kenenisa recorded a 200 m segment during the last lap in 24 seconds and a 100 m section in 12 seconds to run a 52.63 final lap.
Kenenisa has faced his mentor Haile Gebrselassie once in road competition, once in cross country, and six times on the track. Haile defeated Kenenisa on the track in the 2000 Nurnberg 5000 metres, the 2001 Great Ethiopian Run 10 km, and the Cross de l'Acier in December 2001, but lost to Kenenisa in Hengelo 2003 over 10,000 m (26:53 to 26:54), Rome 2003 over 5000 m (12:57 to 13:00), Paris 2003 World Championships over 10,000 m (26:49 to 26:50), Athens 2004 Olympic Games (27:05 to 27:27), and in the 10,000 m in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (27:01 to 27:06). (Bekele did not race Haile by that margin in the Beijing Games, but his countrymen Sileshi Sihine)
On 4 January 2005, Kenenisa's fiancee, 18-year-old Alem Techale, died of an apparent heart attack while on a training run with him. Although it was initially stated that no autopsy was performed, Alem and Kenenisa's manager, Jos Hermens, later said that an autopsy had revealed nothing conclusive about the young woman's death. She was the 2003 World Youth Champion in the 1500 metres and in excellent physical condition.
Over the next several weeks following Alem's death, Kenenisa grieved. He resumed racing on 29 January, and lost indoors over 3000 m to Ireland's Alistair Cragg after sprinting towards the line with one and a half laps to go, while thinking that there was only half a lap left. Such confusion was presumed to have been caused by his grief. A few weeks later he lost to fellow Ethiopian Markos Geneti over two miles.
In March, Kenenisa faced his toughest challenge yet. Despite his grief and recent losses on the track, he lined up to defend his long and short course titles at the 2005 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. In dramatic fashion, Kenenisa bested the field in the short course despite a fast pace set by Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen. He followed that win with a long course victory the next day over Eritrean Zersenay Tadese and Kenyan rival Eliud Kipchoge.
On 26 August 2005, Kenenisa set the current 10,000 m world record 26:17.53 at the 29th Memorial Van Damme meeting in Brussels, slicing nearly three seconds off his previous world record 26:20.31, and running with 5000 m splits of 13:09 and 13:08 minutes. At the end of 2005 Bekele was voted the Track & Field News magazine athlete of the year for the second year in a row.
When Kenenisa won the 3000 m at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Moscow, he became the first athlete in history to be Olympic champion, world outdoor track champion, world indoor track champion, and world cross country champion.
In 2006 he won five out of six IAAF Golden League events (5000 m) in the same season, which earned him a total of US$83,333.
On 17 February 2007, he broke the indoor world record over 2000 m in Birmingham, with a time of 4:49.99. His spectacular final 300 m aided this time which would be considered excellent even outdoors.
On 24 March 2007, however, his remarkable racing streak of 27 consecutive victories in cross country races (dating back to his last previous loss in December 2001) came to an end when after leading the race in the penultimate lap of the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa he succumbed to the very hot, humid conditions (which caused more than 1/6 of all competitors to drop out) and was passed by eventual winner Zersenay Tadese on the last lap before Kenenisa dropped out. This was greeted with cheers by the Kenyan crowds, an occurrence which has been frowned upon by the wider athletics community.
He recovered from that rare failure to take the 10,000 metres title at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, once again besting his compatriot Sileshi Sihine. During that race, he looked like he was going to be dropped several times over the last 800 metres, but recovered to overtake Sileshi with 150 metres to go and take his third straight world title.
Beijing Olympics and Berlin World Championships
In Edinburgh on 30 March 2008, Bekele won his sixth World Cross Country title (long course – 12k), breaking the three way tie of 5 wins he had previously shared with Paul Tergat and John Ngugi. With this win, Kenenisa laid sole claim to most decorated athlete in IAAF World Cross Country Championships history. He has won 6 long course (12k) individual gold medals, 5 short course (4k) gold medals, 1 junior championship (8k), and 4 team gold medals for a sum total of 16 gold medals. His overall medal count (both individual and team results) stands at 27 medals: 16 gold, 9 silver and 2 bronze.
On 17 August 2008 Kenenisa won gold in the 10,000 m finals with a time of 27:01.17, setting a new Olympic Record in the process. In a race in which 20 men broke the 28 minute barrier and four finished under Bekele's 2004 Olympic record of 27:05.10, he needed his renowned finishing kick to pull out the victory, running a 53.42 second final 400 metres (similar to the 53 second final 400 meter sprint he used to win the gold medal in Athens in 2004 over the same distance).
On 23 August 2008 Kenenisa bested his competitors and won the 5000 m finals, shattering Saïd Aouita's Olympic Record by almost eight seconds with a time of 12:57.82. The race was remarkable for Kenenisa's manner of doing most of the pacing himself before accelerating to a scintillating finish: his last 3000 metres only took 7:35.53, his final 2000 metres 4:56.97, last 1600 metres 3:57.01 (=3:58.4 final mile) and his final lap a punishing 53.87 seconds.
By winning the 10,000/5000 m double in the Beijing Olympics, Kenenisa joined another elite group of athletes: Hannes Kolehmainen (1912), Emil Zátopek (1952), Vladimir Kuts (1956), Lasse Virén (twice, in 1972 and 1976), and Miruts Yifter (1980).
Kenenisa won two gold medals at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, held in Berlin. His double victories in 5000 m (13:17.09) and 10,000 m (26:46.31 – a World Championships Record) were unprecedented and by doing this became the first man to take both the long distance track gold medals at the same World Championships. His talent combination of endurance and speed has made it nearly impossible to defeat Kenenisa when he is at full strength. During the 10,000m race in which Kenenisa was running behind Eritrea's Zersenay Tadesse, the broadcaster declared "it is over, in fact it was over from the start" as the final lap began and Bekele turned an ostensibly close race into a blowout. The IAAF announcer concluded, "this man is probably the greatest distance runner we will ever see." In spite of his unrivalled success in athletics, he did not experience the mainstream appeal that others such as Haile Gebrselassie did. His quiet demeanour and aversion to interviews did not make him a highly marketable athlete in the Western world. Fellow world record holder Usain Bolt stated that Bekele's achievements had not received the recognition that they deserved.
Bekele made a disappointing start to the new year, finishing fourth in the Edinburgh Cross Country in a race he was favored to win – a trio of Kenyan athletes ran him out of the contest over the final lap. Bekele spent the entirety of the indoor and outdoor seasons out, with a ruptured calf muscle.
Bekele finally returned to training from a knee injury in March 2011. Having not raced on the track since 2009, Bekele returned for the World Championships. But Bekele dropped out of the 10,000m with 10 laps remaining. He decided not to run the 5,000m and  returned to the Diamond League at the Ivo Van Damme Memorial in Brussels where he set the fastest time in the world for the 10,000 metres in 2011. His 2012 did not start well, as he was a lowly eleventh place at the Edinburgh Cross Country. In April, he appeared to have returned to form by winning the Great Ireland Run in a new personal best time for a 10 km road race of 27:49, improving the course record by 46 seconds. In the 2012 London Olympic Games' 10,000 m race he ran within the leading group for the whole race, but could not keep up with the leaders' sprint in the last 150 meters and eventually finished fourth, with a time of 27:32.44, just 1.01 second outside the bronze medalist, his brother Tariku.
In his first race of 2013 he won the Great Ireland Run for a second time. Bekele then won the Great North Run half marathon in a time of 60:09, beating mo farah by just one second after making a move that farah couldn't match with just less than 12 miles gone.
|1500 m||3:32.35||28 September 2007||Shanghai|
|Mile run (indoors)||4:01.57||3 February 2006||New York City|
|2000 m (indoors)||4:49.99 (WR)||17 February 2007||Birmingham|
|3000 m||7:25.79||7 August 2007||Stockholm|
|3000 m (indoors)||7:30.51||20 February 2007||Stockholm|
|Two miles||8:13.51||26 May 2007||Hengelo|
|Two miles (indoors)||8:04.35 (WR)||16 February 2008||Birmingham|
|5000 m||12:37.35 (WR)||31 May 2004||Hengelo|
|5000 m (indoors)||12:49.60 (WR)||20 February 2004||Birmingham|
|10,000 m||26:17.53 (WR)||26 August 2005||Brussels|
|10 km (road)||27:49||15 April 2012||Dublin|
|15 km (road)||42:42||9 December 2001||'s-Heerenberg|
|Half Marathon||1:00:09||15 September 2013||Newcastle|
Major international competitions
- Note: XC stands for cross country
World Grand Prix Finals
|2001||Grand Prix Final||Melbourne, Australia||2nd||3000 m|
|2003||World Athletics Final||Monaco, Monaco||1st||3000 m|
|2005||World Athletics Final||Stuttgart, Germany||1st||5000 m|
|2009||World Athletics Final||Thessaloniki, Greece||1st||3000 m|
- IAAF Golden League jackpot winner: 2006, 2009
- Montferland Run 15K: 2000, 2001
- Giro al Sas 11K: 2001
- Memorial Peppe Greco 10K: 2003
- Cross country wins
- Tilburg Warandeloop: 2000
- Cinque Mulini: 2002
- Lotto Cross Cup Brussels: 2002
- Oeiras International Cross Country: 2002, 2003
- Campaccio: 2002, 2004
- Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza: 2003
- Trofeo Alasport: 2003
- Cross Internacional de Itálica: 2003, 2004, 2007
- Cross Internacional de Venta de Baños: 2004
- Great Edinburgh International Cross Country: 2006, 2007, 2008
- IAAF World Athlete of the Year: 2004, 2005
- Track & Field News Athlete of the Year: 2004, 2005
- Ethiopian Person of the Year: 2007/2008
- IAAF, 17 November 2009: World Records ratified
- 2005 World Championships 10000 m final
- Bekele 10000 m world record – IAAF
- Bekele 10000 m world record – YouTube video
- "Bekele follows Campbell down marriage path". iaaf.org.
- BBC Sports http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/athletics/latest_results/default.stm
- Jörg Wenig (2009-08-23). Bekele conquers another superlative. IAAF. Retrieved on 24 August 2009.
- Ethiopia Kenenisa vs Eritrea Zersenay tadesse
- Chadband, Ian (2009-09-01). Kenenisa Bekele is the Usain Bolt of distance running. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
- "Bekele back in training, hopeful for London 2012 | Athletics Weekly - the best coverage of the No.1 Olympic sport". Athletics Weekly.
- "World Athletics Championships 2011: Kenenisa Bekele is big unknown quantity for favourite Mo Farah". Telegraph.
- "World Athletics 2011: Mo Farah settles for 10,000m silver in Daegu | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 30 August 2011.
- "Farah won't face Bekele in 5,000m as the Ethiopian returns home | Athletics". insidethegames.biz. 31 August 2011.
- "Bekele sets season best in 10,000m - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 17 September 2011.
- IAAF.org (15 September 2011). "Brussels offers Bekele the chance to bounce back – Samsung Diamond League". iaaf.org.
- Wenig, Jorg (2012-01-07). Kiprop triumphs in race of champions, Bekele a distant 11th – Edinburgh XC report. IAAF. Retrieved on 8 January 2012.
- Cole, Brendan (2012-04-15). Bekele wins Great Ireland Run in stunning style. RTE. Retrieved on 15 April 2012.
- Mulkeen, Jon (2012-08-04). Ennis, Farah and Rutherford take gold for Britain on 'Super Saturday' - London 2012 Day Two Report. IAAF. Retrieved on 4 August 2012.
- Martin, David (2013-04-14). Bekele retains title, Howarth takes honours in Dublin. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-04-18.
- Kenenisa Bekele profile at IAAF
- IAAF: Focus on Athletes
- Media related to Kenenisa Bekele at Wikimedia Commons
|Men's 10,000 m World Record Holder
8 June 2004 –
|Men's 5,000 m World Record Holder
31 May 2004 –
|Awards and achievements|
Hicham El Guerrouj
|Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
|Men's 5000 m Best Year Performance
|Men's 10,000 m Best Year Performance
2004 – 2005
2007 – 2009
Josphat Kiprono Menjo
Isaac Kiprono Songok
|Men's 3000 m Best Year Performance
Edwin Cheruiyot Soi