Israeli athlete Maru Teferi made history on Sunday after winning a Silver Medal at the World Athletics Championship’s men’s marathon, overtaking his opponents in the race’s final section.
Teferi’s time stood at 2:09:12 hours, edging out bronze medal-winning Ethiopian runner Leul Gebresilase by a mere seven seconds. Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat secured the gold after a remarkable run with a time of 2:08:53 hours.
"I’m so excited and happy to represent my country on such a big stage and bring honor to myself, my country, and my family," Teferi said following his achievement. "I decided to go all out for it. I saw that he [Leul Gebresilase] was weakening in the last kilometer, I thought of catching up to him – and in the end, I overtook him."
Teferi achieved a career-best performance with his first-ever medal at the World Championship, and is the first Israeli distance-running athlete to do so. His previous best achievement was an 11th-place finish in last year's championship held in Oregon.
This marks the Israeli delegation's first medal in the competition, after Blessing Afrifah didn’t qualify to advance past the preliminary rounds in the 200-meter dash, and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter's fourth-place finish in the women's marathon last week. Haimro Alame, the second Israeli athlete in the marathon, finished in 20th place with a time of 2:12:32 hours.
Teferi saved his strength at the start of the race, gradually increasing his pace. After the first hour, he was within the thirty runners, but as the race progressed, he began to overtake more and more of his competitors, advancing to sixth place.
He continued to make strategic moves and, in the last five kilometers, surpassed Tamirat Tola, the 2022 World Champion and Tokyo marathon medalist, securing the third spot. However, in a decisive final push, he clinched the historic second place shortly before the race’s finish line.
Teferi was the vice-champion in the 2022 European Athletics Championship in Munich, and he also contributed to the gold medal won in the team marathon division at the same competition.
At the Tokyo Olympics, he achieved a 13th-place finish, marking the best-ever result for an Israeli marathoner at the Olympic Games. He also earned a gold medal at the Fukuoka Marathon held in Japan in December 2022.
This remarkable achievement makes Teferi the fourth Israeli to win a medal at the World Athletics Championship. The only man to precede him was Alex Averbukh, who claimed a bronze medal in the pole vault at the 1999 championship in Seville, with a jump of 5.80 meters. Averbukh won a silver medal two years later with a leap of 5.85 meters in Edmonton 2001.
The first Israeli woman to win a medal was Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, the 2015 world silver medalist in Beijing, who also set the Israeli record in the triple jump with a 14.78-meter leap. Last year, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter became the first Israeli woman to win a medal in the marathon after securing bronze in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 2:20:18 hours.