Meskerem Assefa

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Meskerem Assefa
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  Ethiopia
African Championships
Silver medal – second place 2008 Addis Ababa 1500 m
Near half way point of 2019 Boston Marathon where she placed 4th

Meskerem Assefa Legesse Wondimagegn (born 20 September 1985 in Robe, Arsi)[1] is an Ethiopian middle- and long-distance runner. She represented Ethiopia at the 2008 and 2012 London Olympics.[1] She has personal bests including 4:02.12 minutes for the 1500 metres, 8:46.37 minutes for the 3000 metres and 2:25:11 hours for the marathon.

Meskerem competes principally in the 1500 m. She is a two-time participant at the World Championships in Athletics and was the silver medallist at the 2008 African Championships in Athletics.


Meskerem started running middle-distance races in 2001 and while in Oregon in 2003 she ran an 800 metres best of 2:01.11 minutes and a 1500 metres best of 4:03.96 minutes. She was mainly based in the United States until 2007.[2] A win at the All-Ethiopian Games in Addis Ababa and a runner-up finish at the Ethiopian Athletics Championships brought her a place at the 2007 All-Africa Games,[3][4] where she placed fourth with a run of 4:09.83 minutes.

The following year brought her first major senior medal – she was the silver medallist behind Gelete Burka in the 1500 m at the 2008 African Championships in Athletics.[5][6] On the Brazilian athletics circuit she had three straight wins including a personal best of 2:02.12 minutes in the 800 m in Rio de Janeiro.[7] Her best run in the 1500 m that season was 4:05.67 minutes, which came at a meeting in Jerez de la Frontera.[2] She was chosen to represent Ethiopia at the 2008 Summer Olympics, but she was eliminated in the first round of heats.[8]

A runner-up finish at the national championships earned her a place at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. She passed the first round, but did not start in the semi-final. Her best 1500 m that year (4:05.99) was at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon,[2] and she also set a 3000 metres personal best of 8:46.37 minutes at the Meeting Lille Metropole.[9] Her major competition of 2010 was the African Championships, where she was fifth over 1500 m.[2] In the first half of the year she began to move away from middle-distance towards long-distance running: she was runner-up at the Le Mans Cross Country, set a 5000 metres time of 15:03.49 minutes for third at the GE Galan, won the Cooper River Bridge Run with a run of 32:31 minutes for the 10K, and had third-place finishes at the Carlsbad 5000 and Crescent City Classic 5K road races.[10]

In spite of success in longer races, Meskerem focused on the 1500 m in 2011 and achieved her best results yet. She ran a career best of 4:03.63 minutes for second at the Colorful Daegu Championships Meeting,[11] then improved this further to 4:02.12 minutes as runner-up at the Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League meeting.[12] She ran 4:06.32 for another second place at the Brazzaville meeting and placed seventh with a run of 4:04.48 minutes at the top level Herculis meet. She ranked second to Kalkidan Gezahegne among Ethiopian runners that year.[13] She was again chosen to represent Ethiopia on the global stage, but was eliminated in the heats of the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.[2] She again placed fourth in the 1500 m at the 2011 All-Africa Games, just finishing off the podium.

At the start of 2012 she ran indoor bests of 4:07.65 minutes for the 1500 m and 8:53.18 minutes for the 3000 m.[2] Outdoors, her season's best came in Daegu, where she repeated her placing of the previous year, coming second in 4:06.52 minutes.[14] Meskerem's second Olympic appearance followed at the 2012 London Games, but again she did not progress beyond the heats of the 1500 m.[15] After the Olympics she placed second at the DécaNation competition.

Meskerem made a significant, and successful, step up in distance at the beginning of 2013 as she entered the Houston Marathon and finished in third place with a time of 2:25:17 hours.[16] Three months later she was runner-up to Flomena Cheyech at the Vienna Marathon.[17]


  1. ^ a b Meskerem Assefa. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2013-02-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Meskerem Assefa. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  3. ^ Negash, Elshadai (2007-03-13). Daba and Mergia take 5000m victories in All-Ethiopian Games. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  4. ^ Negash, Elshadai (2007-05-07). Burka romps to 1500m victory – Ethiopian Champs, Final Day. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  5. ^ African Athletics Championships DAY 3: Ethiopia Dominates 1,500 Meters. VoaNews (2008-05-02). Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  6. ^ Powell, David (2008-05-02).Montsho takes 49.83 400m victory in Addis Ababa – African Championships day 3. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  7. ^ 2008 Gold Meeting Rio de Atletismo. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  8. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Meskerem Assefa". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2020-04-18. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  9. ^ Ouma, Mark (2009-07-01). Anim, Kikaya, Assefa triumph in Lille. African Athletics. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  10. ^ Meskerem Assefa. Tilastopaja. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  11. ^ Four world leads, wins for Oliver, Harper, Felix, Dix in Daegu. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  12. ^ Ouma, Mark (2011-05-27). Adamu set world junior record. African Athletics. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  13. ^ 1500 Metres – women – senior – outdoor – 2011. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  14. ^ Justin Gatlin fires United States to a sprint sweep. The Hindu (2012-08-18). Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  15. ^ "Meskerem Assefa". 2012 Summer Olympics. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  16. ^ Youth trumps weather in Houston as Ethiopians take clean sweep of titles. IAAF (2013-01-13). Retrieved on 2013-02-19.
  17. ^ Wenig, Jörg (2013-04-14). Hat trick wins for Sugut and Gebrselassie in Vienna. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-04-17.

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