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Meseret Defar: “I Am Going There To Set A Record”

Meseret Defar

This is the story of a powerful athlete who was once relegated to the background, and who despite the odds, went on to become the pride of Africa. How else does one describe the sudden turn of events in the life of this extremely determined and ebullient young African woman, who in the midst of trials and numerous challenges stood her ground, and is now the most valued player at the top of her game?

The talented athlete who refused to be intimidated or outshined was born 19th November 1983, in Asco, the outskirts of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Whilst it is true that she wasn’t born into luxury, she had a loving family where she was given the strict upbringing that she admits made her the woman she is today.

Meseret Defar

She recalls having a strong and undying passion for sports from a young age. Meseret who was once denied an opportunity to travel for an international cross country competition was certain she had something most young people her age did not have; clarity of purpose. She knew what she wanted, and she went for it. This action lady, like I love to call her, competes mainly in the 3000metres and 5000 metres events. At the age of 23, Meseret already owned an Olympic gold medal and the title of World Champion; she has set six World Records and counting. Meseret has bagged many medals at top-tier international competitions including Olympic and World Championship gold medals. Meseret broke the world record in New York City in 2006, broke it again in 2007 and held it until 2008, when fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba beat her time.

Meseret Defar

Meseret has had great successes in the 5000metres at the Olympic Games, taking gold at the 2012 London Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She has experienced similar success in the World Championships, taking silver in 2005 Helsinki Championships and gold at the 2007 Osaka Championships. She has reached the 5000metres podium at every global final since 2004.

In 2007, Meseret was honoured with the prestigious award of the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, which added a tremendous shine to her resume.

Meseret Defar

She holds the indoor records for the 5000metres, 3000metres and two-mile run. She has dominated the 3000metres indoor event, winning four consecutive gold medals at the IAAF World Indoor Championships from 2004 to 2010. She is also a two-time champion at the All-Africa Games, a four-time medallist at the African Championships and a two-time gold medallist at the World Junior Championships. She encountered several challenges in 2011 which made her lose some of her races, but despite it, she kept hope alive, still determined to keep blazing her trail. Her favourite saying, “I am going there to break the record,” always seems to prove true.

She already has a laid out plan for retirement. “Once I am done with competitions, my future wish is to work as a humanitarian advocating and helping women and children in their cause… “I want to help children who are in need and do not have a chance to make their dreams come true, and if I can help in some way I am satisfied.”

What declarations do you make about your goals? Make the right ones today!!!





Lovelyn Okafor
Lovelyn Okafor
Lovelyn Okafor is a Journalist/Writer, Poet, Lawyer and God-Lover. She enjoys a good read and sees everyday as an opportunity to live and enjoy her calling whilst working towards perfecting it. She believes that someday soon, Africa will reach her full potential as the light-bearer of the world. You can find her on Twitter: @lovelyn_o

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