Home > The Scene

2021 is the year of Gudaf Tsegay

The world 1,500m bronze medallist has been on a tear this year with world-leading runs in six different events

Photo by: Instagram/gudaf_tsegay

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay has had an amazing 2021 season so far. The world championship 1,500m bronze medallist has raced six times this year, competing in a different event on each occasion. She ran the world-leading time in all six of those races, and she still holds the world lead in four of them. Tsegay has won every race she has entered this year, and on top of her world leads, she has run four PBs, a national record and a world record. 

Tsegay opened her season with a 1,500m race in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she ran 4:02.4. She won the race handily, beating the second-place finisher by nine seconds. At the time, this was the world lead in the outdoor 1,500m, but it came in January, early on in the season when most of the world was still competing indoors. Even so, since then, Tsegay’s time has only been beaten by five women, and she currently sits in sixth in the 2021 rankings. 

RELATED: Why Joshua Cheptegei is set to become the GOAT of the running world

Next, Tsegay travelled to France, where she raced an indoor 1,500m. She ran an incredible time of 3:53.09, crushing the rest of the field (Great Britain’s Laura Muir finished in second in 3:59.58) and beating the world record by two seconds. That gave Tsegay her second world-leading result in a row, but she wasn’t finished yet. Less than a week later at another French meet, she ran her third world lead of the year and a national record in the indoor 800m, which she won in 1:57.52.

Closing out her indoor season 10 days later in Spain, Tsegay ran another world lead and PB, this time in the 3,000m. Yet again, she not only ran the fastest time of the year, but she destroyed the field, beating second-place finisher and fellow Ethiopian Lemlem Hailu by a whopping seven seconds. All three of these results that Tsegay ran indoors remain the world-leading times on the year.

Moving back outdoors, Tsegay jumped up in distance to the 5,000m, which she raced at the Ethiopian Championships in Addis Ababa in April. She won the race in 14:49.7, beating 5,000m world record holder Letesenbet Gidey by seven seconds. Tsegay’s time was the world lead for a month before Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands ran 14:35.34 in May. 

RELATED: Ethiopian runner sets men’s 50K world record with 2:42:07 run in South Africa

Finally, Tsegay’s most recent run came in the 10,000m at a race in Portugal. Despite the fact that the race was her debut in the 10,000m, Tsegay cruised to the win and the world lead, stopping the clock in 29:39.42 (the fastest 10,000m debut in history). Second place went to Bahrain‘s Kalkidan Gezahegne in 29:50.77, which is the second-fastest result in 2021 so far. 

That’s six races, six wins and six world leads across a wide variety of distances. Tsegay has proven that she is as capable of winning an 800m race as she is at winning a 10,000m, and she is only 24 years old. This has certainly been the year of Gudaf Tsegay so far, but with such clear talent and years of racing ahead of her, she could be the woman to beat for the better part of the next decade, so running fans better get used to hearing her name.