Indoor Record Breaker Yomif Kejelcha Strikes It Third Time Lucky

Mar 04 - by IAAF for SportPesa News

Ethiopian gets big reward in Boston after coming close twice in a storming winter track campaign

Yomif Kejelcha in action in Birmingham on Saturday 16th February 2019. PHOTO/AFP

  • The 21-year-old had narrowly missed out on breaking world indoor records in his two previous races, finishing just 0.01 outside the world indoor mile record at the Millrose Games with 3:48.46, and then placing second to Samuel Tefera in Birmingham one week later when his younger compatriot broke the world indoor 1500m record with 3:31.04
  • The last time anyone ran a faster mile outdoors was back in 2007. Kejelcha's time is also an outright Ethiopian record, bettering the outdoor mark of 3:48.60 set by Aman Wote
  • It means Kejelcha – still just 21 years of age – will clearly be a big threat at whichever event he decides to focus on in future

BOSTON, United States- If at first you don't succeed in a record attempt, try to break two records within one race – that way, even if you only achieve half of your goals, you still end up with one record.

That is loosely the approach Yomif Kejelcha took at the Bruce Lehane Invitational in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday.

The 21-year-old had narrowly missed out on breaking world indoor records in his two previous races, finishing just 0.01 outside the world indoor mile record at the Millrose Games with 3:48.46, and then placing second to Samuel Tefera in Birmingham one week later when his younger compatriot broke the world indoor 1500m record with 3:31.04.

Following a two-week break from racing, Kejelcha headed to Boston in an attempt to break the world indoor records for the 1500m and the mile in the same race.

He narrowly missed out on the first goal by a scant 0.21, passing through the 1500m checkpoint in 3:31.25 – the third-fastest indoor time in history for the distance.

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But he smashed his second target as he continued all the way to the finish line, stopping the clock at a world indoor record of 3:47.01 (pending the usual ratification procedures), taking 1.44 seconds off the previous mark set by middle-distance legend Hicham El Guerrouj in 1997.

The last time anyone ran a faster mile outdoors was back in 2007. Kejelcha's time is also an outright Ethiopian record, bettering the outdoor mark of 3:48.60 set by Aman Wote.

Following an indoor campaign that featured numerous world-leading marks, national records and now a world indoor record, Kejelcha will start to turn his attention to the outdoor season.

He has already won world titles at the U18 and U20 level, and has won two world indoor 3000m titles, so he will be aiming to win his first senior outdoor global title at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

Profile

Born: August 1997

Few had heard of Yomif Kejelcha before the 2013 IAAF World U18 Championships, but little more than 13 months later he had completed the global age-group triple.

He won gold in the 3000m at the 2013 World U18 Championships, gold in the 5000m at the 2014 IAAF World U20 Championships and gold in the 3000m at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Clearly the Ethiopian teenager was no flash in the pan.

READ ALSO: Ethiopian Kejelcha Smashes World Indoor Mile Record That Is Older Than Him

He became a regular on the IAAF Diamond League circuit in 2015 and secured the Diamond trophy with his victory in Brussels in a lifetime best of 12:53.98.

Still an U20 athlete, Kejelcha outclassed his senior rivals to win the 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016. The highight of his outdoor season that year was a world U20 record of 7:28.19 at 3000m.

After a mixed 2017 season in which he missed out on a 5000m medal by 0.21 at the IAAF World Championships in London, Kejelcha returned to top form in 2018 and successfully defended his world indoor 3000m title.

Outdoors, he set PBs at every distance he contested, clocking 3:32.59 for 1500m, 7:28.00 for 3000m, 12:46.79 for 5000m and 59:17 for the half marathon.

His record-breaking 2019 indoor campaign has highlighted his ability at the shorter distances, but his half marathon debut last year underlined his outstanding range.

It means Kejelcha – still just 21 years of age – will clearly be a big threat at whichever event he decides to focus on in future.

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Kejelcha's range

1000m: 2:18.34i (oversized track)

1500m: 3:31.25i

mile: 3:47.01i

2000m: 4:57.74

3000m: 7:28.00

5000m: 12:46.79

10km: 28:13

half marathon: 59:17

Kejelcha is the only athlete in history to better 3:50 for the mile and 60:00 for the half marathon.

World indoor mile record progression

3:58.9 Jim Beatty (USA) Los Angeles, 1962

3:58.6 Jim Beatty (USA) New York, 1963

3:56.6 Tom O'Hara (USA) New York, 1964

3:56.4 Tom O'Hara (USA) Chicago, 1964

3:56.4 Jim Ryun (USA) San Diego, 1971

3:55.0 Tony Waldrop (USA) San Diego, 1974

3:54.93 Dick Buerkle (USA) College Park, 1978

3:52.6 Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) San Diego, 1979

3:50.6 Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) San Diego, 1981

3:49.78 Eamonn Coghlan (IRL) East Rutherford, 1983

3:48.45 Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) Ghent, 1997

3:47.02 Yomif Kejelcha (ETH) Boston, 2019