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PREVIEW: More Ethiopian glory incoming in the 1500m at WIC Glasgow 24

Addis Ababa, February 28, 2024 (FBC) – Ethiopian athletes are the leading favorites for glory in both men and women middle distance races at the nineteenth edition of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow 2024.

At the Glasgow 24, Ethiopia will be represented by six men and eight women runners in 800m, 1500m, and 3000m categories.

Ethiopia’s men team is comprised of Selemon Barega (3000m), Telahun Haile Bekele (3000m), Getnet Wale (3000m), Biniam Mehary (1500m), Samuel Tefera (1500m), and Efrem Mekonnen (800). Meanwhile, the women’s team includes Habitam Alemu (800m), Worknesh Mesele (800m), Tsige Duguma (800m), Freweyni Hailu (l500m), Diribe Welteji (1500m), Birke Haylom (1500m), Hirut MESHESHA (3000m), Gudaf Tsegay (3000m), Lemlem Hailu (3000m), and Melknat Wudu (3000m).

In the men’s 1500m event, Ethiopia’s 24-year-old Samuel Teferra heads to Glasgow with the opportunity to become the first athlete to win three consecutive world indoor 1500m titles. Ireland’s Marcus O’Sullivan also has three titles to his name, but Noureddine Morceli split them with his victory in 1991.

In Birmingham six years ago, contesting just the fourth indoor race of his career, an 18-year-old Tefera claimed his first world indoor crown, winning a tactical battle. Back in Birmingham the following year, he ran a world record of 3:31.04 – a mark that was improved to 3:30.60 by Jakob Ingebrigtsen a month before the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

But once there, Tefera proved unbeatable again, running a championship record of 3:32.77 to beat Ingebrigtsen and retain his title. It’s a win streak he’ll look to maintain this weekend.

Working his way towards his world title defence, Tefera opened his 2024 campaign with a 3000m win in Astana in a PB of 7:33.80. He then travelled to Torun, when he won the 1500m in 3:34.61, before an eighth-place finish when stepping back up to the 3000m in Lievin.

Another athlete to watch out for is Biniam Mehary, who finished just behind his compatriot Tefera in Torun. Running 3:34.83, the 17-year-old smashed the world U20 record of 3:36.02 that had been set by Ingebrigtsen in 2019. He also ran 7:33.04 to finish second in the 3000m in Lievin.

In women’s 1500m, with Freweyni Hailu, Diribe Welteji and Birke Haylom heading up the entry list, there’s a strong force looking to retain the women’s 1500m title for Ethiopia for the third consecutive edition, and a second consecutive medal sweep could even be on the cards.

The Ethiopian team for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 has been boosted by Hailu having a wild card entry due to her overall victory in this year’s World Athletics Indoor Tour. Therefore, she is joined by both Welteji and Haylom on the Ethiopian squad as they look to follow in the footsteps of 2018 champion Genzebe Dibaba and 2022 winner Gudaf Tsegay.

Hailu claimed 800m silver in Belgrade two years ago before finishing fourth in the 1500m at the World Championships in Oregon, matching the position she achieved at the Tokyo Olympics.

After securing silver in the mile at the World Road Running Championships in Riga, finishing runner-up to Welteji, Hailu opened 2024 with a mile victory at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava in 4:17.36 and maintained her win streak this season by taking 1500m triumph in Torun and Lievin.

In Torun, her winning time was 3:55.28 – a performance that places her third on a world all-time list topped by Tsegay’s 3:53.09 from 2021.

Welteji was second to Hailu in both of those 1500m races, running 3:55.47 in Torun to move to No.4 all time, and 3:57.48 in Lievin.

She will be on the hunt for another global gold to go with the world mile title she won in a world record of 4:20.98 in Riga in October. Before that, she secured silver behind Faith Kipyegon in the 1500m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

For Haylom, preparations for Glasgow have included a runner-up finish to Tsegay in the 1500m in Boston, clocking a world U20 record of 3:58.43, and she was third behind Hailu and Welteji in Lievin in 4:00.00.

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