Imane Merga

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Imane Merga
Imane Merga Berlin 2009.jpg
Merga during the 2009 World Championships
Personal information
Born15 October 1988 (1988-10-15) (age 30)
Tulu Bolo, Ethiopia

Imane Merga Jida (ኢማነ መርጋ ጂዳ) (born 15 October 1988) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specializes in the 5000 and 10,000 metres. He won his first world title at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics he won the 10,000 m bronze medal, but he was disqualified in the 5000 m, losing a second bronze.

Imane won the first two 5000 m titles in the annual IAAF Diamond League and was the gold medalist at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Final. He has also won the Giro Media Blenio and BOClassic road races. His personal best times are 7:51.24 minutes in the 3000 metres, achieved in May 2009 at the Icahn Stadium; 12:53.58 minutes in the 5000 metres, achieved in August 2010 in Stockholm; and 26:48.35 minutes in the 10,000 metres, achieved in June 2011 in Oregon. He began working with Italian technical coach Renato Canova at the start of 2010.


He was born in Tulu Bolo, Ethiopia. He went to F/H/G/A/Mechal Elementary School and represented the school in various local running events before making it to the national and then world stage. He later moved to Harrar, East Ethiopia and continued training there for a brief period of time before coming to Addis Ababa where he joined local athletics club. His first appearances on the world stage came in cross country running – he finished seventh in the men's junior race at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa and he went on to win at the Oeiras International Cross Country later that year.[1]

In 2008, he ran at the São Silvestre da Amadora road race, winning the 10 km competition in 29:27.[2] Merga won the Antrim International Cross Country in early 2009 and went on to finish second behind Gebregziabher Gebremariam at the Ethiopian 10,000 m championships in July.[3] He finished fourth in the 10,000 metres at the 2009 World Championships and won the 5000 metres at the 2009 World Athletics Final.[4] He closed the year on the cross country circuit, winning at the Cross de l'Acier for a third consecutive time.[5]

He began his 2010 season with a win at the 10 km Giro Media Blenio race in Dongio, beating defending champion Moses Mosop in the process.[6] Having won the 5000 m at the Bislett Games and the Golden Gala, he went on to become the inaugural 2010 IAAF Diamond League champion in the event. He represented Africa in the event at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup, but came in fifth. He attempted a fourth straight win at the Cross de l'Acier, but was beaten to the line by reigning cross country champion Joseph Ebuya.[7] He ended 2010 with a win at the BOclassic, defeating Mo Farah in a sprint finish.[8]

At the Jan Meda Cross Country in February 2011 he came second, some distance behind race winner Hunegnaw Mesfin who took the national title.[9] However, he beat his countryman and all other contenders at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, closing the race with a quick sprint finish. His world title followed a 15-month stretch in which he had not won a cross country race.[10] He ended his cross country season with another win on grass, beating Caleb Ndiku and world runner-up Paul Tanui at the Trofeo Alasport in Alà dei Sardi.[11] Turning to the European road circuit, he retained his Giro Media Blenio title with a quick run to the line.[12] In the 2011 Diamond League he won the 5000 m at the Golden Gala and then, in the absence of the event leader Mo Farah, he won at the Memorial van Damme final to be elected the Diamond race winner for a second time running.[13]

At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics he won the bronze medal over 10,000 m while his teammate Ibrahim Jeilan won the title. Imane won his second bronze of the competition in the Men's 5000 metres, but he was later disqualified for having run inside the curb of the running track for some 10 to 15 metres. Fellow Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel was elevated to the bronze medal as a result.[14]

He continued his cross country winning streak at the Cross de Atapuerca in November,[15] but was then defeated by 2010 World Champion Ebuya at the Cross de l'Acier.[16] He tried for a second win at the BOClassic, but was third behind Edwin Soi,[17] and was again beaten the Kenyan at the Campaccio race.[18]

Imane failed in his attempt to make the Ethiopian team for both 2012 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics, and only made the top three once on the 2012 Diamond League circuit (third in the 5000 m at the Bislett Games).[19] He fared better away from the track with a time of 59:56 minutes for his half marathon debut at the Great North Run, where he placed third.[20] He won the Cross de Atapuerca in November and in December he won the Ethiopian Clubs Cross Country Championships and the end-of-year BOClassic race.[21][22][23]

He came close to defending his world title at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships but was eventually beaten in the final stages by Japhet Korir, finishing as runner-up by a margin of four seconds.[24] He was runner-up again at the Giro Media Blenio, beaten by his junior compatriot Muktar Edris.[25] The 10,000 m was his focus on the track that year and he was runner-up at the Prefontaine Classic. He ran a season's best of 26:57.33 minutes at the Folksam Grand Prix, but at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics he was only twelfth in the World 10,000 metres final. After the track season he came fifth at the Portugal Half Marathon and third at the Giro al Sas.[26]

Imane suffers from a natural speech disorder.


  1. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (17 November 2007). "Merga and Rosa nab wins in Lisbon – Oeiras Cross Country Report". IAAF. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  2. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (1 January 2009). "Merga and Félix win in Amadora – Portuguese New Year race highlights". IAAF. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  3. ^ Negash, Elshadai (30 April 2009). "World XC Champion Gebremariam dominates men's 10,000m – Ethiopian Champs, Day 1". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  4. ^ Imane Merga at IAAF
  5. ^ "Portuguese women shine on Cross Country Sunday". European Athletics. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  6. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (6 April 2010). "Merga cruises to Dongio 10Km win". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  7. ^ Ramsak, Bob (29 November 2010). "Ebuya and Masai take comfortable victories at Cross de l'Acier". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  8. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (1 January 2011). "Merga and Cheruiyot take dramatic victories in Bolzano". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  9. ^ Negash, Elshadai (21 February 2011). "Melkamu, Mesfin dominate Ethiopian trials for Punta Umbria". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  10. ^ Minshull, Phil (20 March 2011). "Merga gets a rare taste of victory – Men's senior race report – Punta Umbrìa 2011". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  11. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (28 March 2011). "Another cross country win for World champion Merga – Alà dei Sardi report". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  12. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (26 April 2011). "Merga defends title in Dongio 10Km". IAAF. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  13. ^ "2011 Diamond League 5000 m final standings". IAAF. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  14. ^ Britain's Mo Farah wins 5000m world title. AFP (4 September 2011). Retrieved 4 September 2011.[dead link]
  15. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (13 November 2011). "Merga and Masai confirm supremacy in Atapuerca as IAAF Cross Country Permit season kicks off". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Italy's Ejjafini wins in Llodio while Ireland's Britton impresses in Leffrinckoucke". European Athletics. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  17. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (1 January 2012). "Soi and Cheruiyot take thrillers in Bolzano". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  18. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (6 January 2012). "Soi defends in a thriller, Cherono dominates at Campaccio XC". IAAF. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  19. ^ Imane Merga. Tilastopaja. Retrieved 22 January 2013.[dead link]
  20. ^ Wenig, Jörg (16 September 2012). "Dibaba and Kipsang take Great North Run victories he came in third place - REPORT". IAAF. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  21. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (11 November 2012). "Merga and Ayalew score Ethiopian double in Atapuerca". IAAF. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  22. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (1 January 2013). "Favourites Merga and Kibet win in Bolzano". IAAF. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  23. ^ Negash, Elshadai (4 December 2012). "Merga and Kebede take the spoils in Ethiopian Clubs XC". IAAF. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  24. ^ Minshull, Phil (24 March 2013). "Korir becomes youngest ever champion – Bydgoszcz 2013 senior men's report". IAAF. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  25. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (1 April 2013). "Edris adds his name to illustrious list of winners in Dongio". IAAF. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  26. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (13 October 2013). "Fifth win for Soi at Giro di Trento". IAAF. Retrieved 15 October 2013.

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