Ethiopian teenager Samuel Tefera is one of the most exciting middle-distance talents in the world. Here the recently-minted world indoor champion and world U20 indoor 1500m record-holder talks a little about his journey in the sport and why he runs.
“My very first running experiences came at school. I was a grade eight student at the time and I finished second against runners much older and more experienced than me. It was to prove a big turning point in my life. I loved running at school. I ran with friends and I was not only good at the sport, but it was fun.
“That second place finish gave me the belief and encouragement I needed and I progressed from a zonal level to a regional level, where I won the 1500m title. By the time I was a grade ten student I had been picked up by a club and I started to train more seriously.
“I quickly became a real student of the sport. I am a huge admirer of Kenenisa Bekele (the three-time Olympic 10,000m champion and five-time World track champion). I like the way he runs and he inspires me. My dream is to be like him.
“For me I run for several reasons; It allows me to live a healthy life, it is good for mental development and it has transformed my life by making me prosperous. It allows me to live the life I desire and earn good money. It allows me to travel across different cities and I also enjoy the pride I get from representing my country when competing.
“I always feel really happy when I train properly under the direction of my coaches and run well on the international stage. My life without running is nothing. I couldn’t think of my life without running, although because I was academic at school I think if I hadn’t chosen running as my career path, I could well be a doctor or an engineer.
“Running has given me so much and I hope one day to be a successful runner like Kenenisa Bekele and to fulfil my goals in the sport.”