GEN 10: Distance Prodigy Selemon Barega of Ethiopia

Gen 10: Ethiopian distance runner Selemon Barega (Getty Images)

With one eye on the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 and the other on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, IAAF is highlighting the rise of a new generation, 10 exciting prospects under the age of 21 who are set to become stars of the sport over the next few years.

The series kicked off with Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, the world U20 record holder in the pole vault, followed by Sydney McLaughlin of the US, the world U20 record holder in the 400m hurdles.

Our series continues with Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, the world U20 record holder in the 5000m and a nominee for IAAF Male Rising Star of 2018.


Country: Ethiopia
Event: 3000m, 5000m
Born: 20 January 2000
Coach: Hussein Shibo
Social media: @selemonbarega (Instagram), @SelemonBarega (Twitter)

After a rise through the ranks that has been as quick as it has been seamless, it’s easy to forget that Selemon Barega is still just 18 years old.

Following a bronze medal-winning run in the 5000m at the 2016 East African Junior Championships in his national team debut, Barega came to fore at the IAAF World U20 Championships at age 16 later that year when winning the 5000m title after a spirited homestretch battle. He has been among the world’s finest middle-distance runners since.

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