3. Gudaf Tsegay
Making her first appearance on our African Female Athlete of the year toplist is Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay who was impressive over the 1500m and 5000m in 2022. In fact, Tsegay was the only Ethiopian to win two medals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, underlining her special status as an exceptional athlete.
The Tokyo Games Bronze medallist in the 5000m was unbeaten in all four races she ran over 1500m in the indoor season, culminating in her winning GOLD at the World Indoor Championships in Serbia with a time of 3:57.19. It will be recalled that Tsegay set the World Indoor Record of 3:53.09 last year.
She opened her outdoor season over 1500m at the Prefontaine Classic where she clocked a Season’s Best (SB) of 3:54.21. Meanwhile, her first 5000m race of the season happened at the P-T-S meeting in Slovakia where she raced to victory in 14:31.91. She followed that up with another wonderful performance at the Bislett Games in Oslo, improving her mark to 14:26.59. And then it was time for the World Championships!
The Ethiopian was entered for both the 1500m and the 5000m and she delivered in both events. Beginning with the shorter distance, she dominated her heat and semifinal race, before putting up a spirited fight against Faith Kipyegon in the final who struck GOLD, with Tsegay settling for Silver with 3:54.52, an improvement from the Bronze she won in Doha.
Two days later, she outclassed the rest of the field in the women’s 5000m heat and extended her dominance to the final, inspiring a 1-3 for Ethiopia as Tsegay clinched GOLD with a time of 14:46.29 while teammate Dawit Seyaum took Bronze in 14:47.36. Tsegay’s feat in the 5000m made her the fourth Ethiopian to win the women’s title at the World Championships after Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar and Almaz Ayana.