Maryam Yusuf Jamal

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Maryam Yusuf Jamal
Maryam Jamal Birmingham indoor 2010.jpg
Jamal at the 2010 Aviva Grand Prix
Medal record
Competitor for  Bahrain
Women’s athletics
Olympic Games
Bronze 2012 London 1500 m
World Championships
Gold 2007 Osaka 1500 m
Gold 2009 Berlin 1500 m
World Indoor Championships
Silver 2008 Valencia 1500 m
Bronze 2014 Sopot 3000 m
IAAF World Cup
Gold 2006 Athens 1500 m
Asian Games
Gold 2006 Doha 800 m
Gold 2006 Doha 1500 m
Gold 2010 Guangzhou 1500m
Asian Cross Country Championships
Gold 2007 Amman Senior race
Gold 2009 Manama Senior race

Maryam Yusuf Jamal (Amharic: ማሪያም፡ ዩሱፍ፡ ጃማል?) (Arabic: مريم يوسف جمال‎) (born Zenebech Tola) (Amharic: ዘነበቸ፡ ቶላ?) (born 16 September 1984) is a Bahraini middle distance runner. She is the first Bahraini athlete to win an Olympic medal, a bronze medal in the 1500m women's race, in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[1]

Born in Ethiopia, 2005 was her first full season. She gained the national record and ran the fastest 3000 m of the year, with a time of 8:28.87 at a race in Oslo. Jamal is a two-time world champion in the 1500 m, having won at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships in Athletics.

She represented Bahrain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, finishing fifth in the 1500 m final.[2] Jamal has also had much success at regional competitions: winning two gold medals at the 2006 Asian Games in addition to the Asian Cross Country Championships in both 2007 and 2009.

Early life and transfer[edit]

Jamal was born in the Arsi Zone in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, an area famous for distance runners, including Haile Gebreselassie, Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba. She is Muslim,[3] and is of Oromo background.

Jamal later left Ethiopia with her husband, Tariq Yaqoob, due partially to political and economic problems. She had run a qualifying time for the 2004 Summer Olympics, but was allegedly refused permission to represent her home country by the Ethiopian Athletic Federation due to the competition in the country as well as politics.

In 2004 she and her husband sought political asylum in Lausanne, Switzerland. She applied for multiple citizenship papers before Bahrain granted them to her that same year. First, she applied for citizenship in the US, Canada and France.[4] Bahrain, eager to gain a sporting image, granted this in exchange that she change her name to an Arabic one and that she compete in the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar in 2006.

Based in Lausanne, Jamal often trains at altitude in St. Moritz. She is trained by her husband Tariq Yaqoob (who was Mnashu Taye before being granted Bahraini citizenship with his wife).

Competing for Bahrain[edit]

Jamal competing at the FBK Games 2007.

She ran at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, but was obstructed in the final, which resulted in the disqualification of the silver medallist Yuliya Chizhenko. She beat the event winner, Tatyana Tomashova, soon afterwards to take the gold at the 2005 IAAF World Athletics Final. After a bronze medal performance at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships, Jamal beat Tomashova twice more at major events the following year, bringing Asia victory in the 1500 m at the 2006 IAAF World Cup and winning at the 2006 IAAF World Athletics Final. She closed the year with an 800/1500 m double at the 2006 Asian Games.

She turned her skills to cross country running at the start of 2007: she took first place at the Cinque Mulini and went on to win the individual and team gold medals at the Asian Cross Country Championships. At the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Jamal passed Yelena Soboleva in the last 200 metres to win the women's 1500 metres, winning the only gold medal for Bahrain. She made it a third consecutive World Final victory at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Final, finishing ahead of Soboleva (who was later disqualified for switching urine samples to avoid drug testing).

At the start of the next season, she competed at the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships and ran a close indoor 1500 m against Gelete Burka. Sobeleva set a world record for the victory but was later stripped of the title. Burka was elevated to gold while Jamal gained the silver medal, which she won in an Asian record time of 3:59.79. She did not build on her World Championship success with an Olympic medal as she finished fifth in the 1500 metres at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Another win at the 2008 IAAF World Athletics Final closed the year.

Jamal became the first female athlete to win twice at the Asian Cross Country Championships, taking her second gold and competing in Bahrain for the first time. She ran at the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships at finished ninth overall. Making up for her Olympic defeat, she defended her world title on the track with a win at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, just staying ahead of Lisa Dobriskey at the finish line. A fourth place finish at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Final brought an end to a successful season.

In 2010, Jamal competed on the inaugural Diamond League circuit, including a second place finish behind Sentayehu Ejigu at the Herculis meeting. Later that season, she ran at the 2010 Asian Games and managed to retain her title over 1500 m.[5] She later opened her 2011 with a win at the Eurocross, following on from compatriot Mimi Belete's win the previous year.[6]

Controversy[edit]

After winning the 3000 m in Oslo on July 14, 2005, her image was published throughout the international sporting press. Her outfit of short shorts and a sleeveless midriff bearing top caused a minor outrage in Bahrain led by MP Hamad Al-Muhannadi. In 2004, Bahraini champion Ruqaya Al Ghasra competed in the Athens Olympics fully covered. Bahrain Athletics Association vice-president Mohammed Jamal said the association was already planning to give new sportswear to Ms Jamal, which covered her stomach and her legs down to the knee. However comments by Mohammed Jamal show that to be unlikely to actually occur.

Personal bests[edit]

Distance Mark Location Date
800 m 1:59.69 Geneva June 11, 2005
1500 m 3:56.79 Rieti June 14, 2005
3000 m 8:28.87 Oslo July 29, 2005
5000 m 14:51.68 Hengelo May 29, 2005
1/4 Marathon 34:19 Lausanne October 24, 2004
1/2 Marathon 1:11:43 Uster September 18, 2004

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Olympics-Women's athletics 1500m medal results". Chicago Tribune. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Record Bahrain team for Games", Gulf Daily News, April 29, 2008
  3. ^ Burdsey, Daniel. British Asians And Football: Culture, Identity, Exclusion. 2007: Taylor & Francis. p. 30. ISBN 0415395003. 
  4. ^ Maryam Yusuf Jamal applied to US, Canada and France before approaching Bahrain
  5. ^ Jamal captures 1500m title in Guangzhou – Asian Games, Day 3. IAAF (2010-11-24). Retrieved on 2011-02-27.
  6. ^ Wenig, Jorg (2011-02-27). Jamal and Moroccan men dominate in Diekirch. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-02-27.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kenya Isabella Ochichi
Women's 3.000m Best Year Performance
2005
Succeeded by
Ethiopia Meseret Defar