Israeli runner Marhu Teferi took silver in the men’s marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Sunday, equaling the country’s best finish in the main race and cementing himself as a medal contender at next year’s Paris Olympics.
The 31-year-old, who was born in Ethiopia, continued the silver medal at the European Championships that he won with Team Israel last year. This time, he finished second behind Ugandan Victor Kiplangat with a time of 2:9:12.
Teferi’s performance is Israel’s first medal at the event.
Israel won gold in the men’s marathon team competition at the European Athletics Championships in Munich in August 2022, albeit without competitors from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda, who usually dominate such races.
Teferi, whose jersey was torn after a fall around 30 kilometers, said the sweltering weather conditions made it “very difficult for everyone”.
“I’m grateful that I managed to get silver,” he said. “I wanted to bring out the best in myself, and this competition was my biggest goal. I am happy to have realized my dream.
President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, congratulated Teferi in a statement.
“We are very proud of you. You brought joy to the entire nation of Israel. We remember you having competed in shorter races, but now you have made it on the biggest stage of them all. Well done!”
“Congratulations to Marhu Teferi on winning the silver medal at the world marathon,” Minister of Culture and Sports Miki Zohar wrote on Twitter.
“We continue to conquer the top of world sports and promote Israel,” he added.
Teferi and his wife Selamawit, who is also a professional runner, represented Israel at the 2020 Olympics, where Marhu placed 13th in the marathon, the best finish ever achieved by an Israeli. He is also the Israeli record holder.
Along with Teferi, Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter secured her ticket to next year’s Olympics this weekend after finishing fourth in Saturday’s women’s marathon.
The Kenyan, who won bronze at the 2022 World Championships, competed in the Tokyo Olympics two years ago but had to stop running four kilometers from the finish due to menstrual problems while she was in the leading group.