|Born||11 September 1982|
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
|Height||1.59 m (5.2 ft)|
|Weight||40 kg (88 lb)|
|Event(s)||5000 metres, 10,000 metres|
|Club||Enkaspor Athletics Team|
|Coached by||Carol Santa|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||5000m: 14:24.68|
Elvan Abeylegesse, (also formerly: Hewan Abeye (አልቫን አበይለገሠ, Amharic) and Elvan Can (Turkish); born September 11, 1982) is an Ethiopian-born Turkish middle and long-distance running athlete who competes over distances from 1500 metres up to the marathon, and also in cross country. She is the former world record-holder for the 5000 metres, at 14:24.68 minutes.
In August 2015, the Turkish Athletics Federation confirmed that an anti-doping test taken during the 2007 World Championships in Athletics had been retested and found to be positive for a controlled substance, and that the athlete had been temporarily suspended pending retesting of her 'B-sample'. If confirmed, Abeylegesse stood to lose her 2007 medal, and possibly other awards from that date. On 29 March 2017, IAAF confirmed the positive test, expunged her results from 25 August 2007 until 25 August 2009 (thereby stripping her of the two silver medals she had won at the 2008 Olympic Games), and banned her from athletics for two years.
Abeylegesse was born Hewan Abeye on September 11, 1982 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and raised with her seven brothers and sisters. She began her career running cross country. In 1999, she started for the Ethiopian junior team at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland and finished ninth. There, she was invited to a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Coming to Istanbul, she said that she liked it there very much. "I didn't get enough support from my federation in Ethiopia," she said. "My track club in Turkey gave me all the support I needed. So I decided to move to Turkey. The support was much better in Istanbul. I thought it would be easier to reach my goals in Turkey.” To get Turkish citizenship, she married and took the name Elvan Can. She has since divorced and is now called Elvan Abeylegesse.
“As a youngster, my heroes were Ethiopian runners. I would follow the victories of Gete Wami particularly”, Abeylegesse said. “I studied all their actions: how they slept, how they ate, how they trained, and how they competed.” Registered in the Enka Sports Club in Istanbul, she is coached by Ertan Hatipoglu, a former triple jumper of Turkish origin from Bulgaria. She still has a friendly relationship with other Ethiopian runners, but there is a problem with her former federation. “The officials don’t allow me to train in Ethiopia any longer", Abeylegesse says. “I train now at high altitudes in Turkey as I think that some of my former compatriots see me as a threat. They are uncomfortable with me training in Ethiopia. But I, of course, remain friends with the individual Ethiopian runners.”
Abeylegesse’s career in the international arena began at the age of 18 in Grosseto, Italy in 2001 by winning the European 3000 m and 5000 m titles, setting a national record for Turkey. She became a world leader with a time of 8:31:94 in the 3000 m in Brussels, Belgium in 2002 and with a time of 3:58.38 in the 1500 m in Moscow, Russia in 2004.
Abeylegesse has been a scholarship holder with the Olympic Solidarity program since August 2002.
At the Evergood Bergen Bislett Games in Norway on June 11, 2004, the sixth meeting of TDK Golden League, Abeylegesse broke the women’s 5000 m world record, which had belonged to Chinese runner Jiang Bo since 1997 (14:28.09), improving the mark by over three seconds to 14:24.68. She became the first Turkish athlete ever to set a world record. "I worked very hard, day and night," Abeylegesse said, speaking through an interpreter. "My target since the first day I started running has been to break world records and become Olympic champion." Şarık Tara, the honorary president of her club, said, "I am proud of our daughter Elvan. Her achievement is an even greater success than our men's national soccer team finishing third in the World Cup."
She was the 2010 recipient of the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy, an annual award given by the International Fair Play Committee. She had lent a pair of running shoes to competitor Meselech Melkamu just moments before the beginning of the 10,000 metres final at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. Having forgotten to bring her shoes to the track, Melkamu went on to take the silver.
Abeylegesse won the 2010 edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in a time of 1:07:07. This was the fastest ever time for a woman in the half marathon race and made her the sixth fastest woman overall. She played down suggestions of a permanent switch to longer road races, however, saying a marathon debut would have to wait until after the 2012 London Olympics.
At the 2010 European Athletics Championships, Abeylegesse won gold in the 10,000 m, finishing in 31 minutes, 10.23 seconds On 28 July 2010, and she won the silver medal in 5000m finishing in 14 minutes, 54.44 seconds on 1 August 2010. She narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup, finishing two seconds behind Molly Huddle in the 5000 m.
She returned to action in 2012 after her pregnancy and made her debut over 20 km, finishing as runner-up at the 20 Kilomètres de Paris. She was also runner-up in the 15K section of the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon. She won the Nice Half Marathon in April 2013. On November 17, 2013 she became runner-up in the women's category at the Istanbul Marathon with a time of 2:29:30.
|1999||World Cross Country Championships||Belfast, Northern Ireland||9th||Junior race||22:03|
|World Youth Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||5th||3000 metres||9:08.29|
|European Junior Championships||Riga, Latvia||2nd||5000 metres||16:06.40|
|2000||World Cross Country Championships||Vilamoura, Portugal||90th||Short race||14:30|
|World Junior Championships||Santiago, Chile||6th||3000m||9:28.20|
|2001||World Cross Country Championships||Ostend, Netherlands||22nd||Junior race||23:30|
|European Junior Championships||Grosseto, Italy||1st||3000 metres||8:53.42|
|World Championships||Edmonton, Canada||8th (heats)||5000 metres||15:22.89|
|Mediterranean Games||Tunis, Tunisia||3rd||10,000 metres||32:29.20|
|European Cross Country Championships||Thun, Switzerland||1st||Junior race||10:35|
|2002||European Championships||Munich, Germany||7th||5000 metres||15:24.41|
|IAAF Grand Prix Final||Paris, France||8th||3000 metres||9:01.50|
|European Cross Country Championships||Medulin, Croatia||3rd||Junior race||20:19|
|2003||European U23 Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||1st||5000m||15:16.79|
|World Championships||Paris, France||5th||5000 metres||14:53.56|
|IAAF World Athletics Final||Monaco||1st||5000m||14:56.25|
|2004||European Champion Clubs' Cup||Moscow, Russia||1st||1500 metres||3:58.28|
|European Cup||Istanbul, Turkey||1st||3000 metres||8:49.14|
|Olympic Games||Athens, Greece||8th||1500 metres||4:00.67|
|IAAF World Athletics Final||Monaco||1st||5000m||14:59.19|
|2006||European Championships||Gothenburg, Sweden||3rd||5000 metres||14:59.29|
|2007||World Championships||Osaka, Japan||DSQ||10,000 metres||31:59.40|
|2008||Olympic Games||Beijing, China||DSQ||5000 metres||15:42.74|
|2009||Mediterranean Games||Pescara, Italy||DSQ||10,000 metres||31:51.98|
|2010||European Championships||Barcelona, Spain||1st||5000 metres||14:54.44|
|2013||Mediterranean Games||Mersin, Turkey||2nd||10,000 meters||32:59.30|
|1500 m||3:58:28||Moscow, Russia||May 30, 2004|
|2000 m||5:33:83||İstanbul, Turkey||June 7, 2003|
|3000 m||8:31:94||Brussels, Belgium||August 30, 2002|
|5000 m||14:24:68||Bergen, Norway||June 11, 2004|
|10,000 m||29:56:34||Beijing, China||August 15, 2008|
|1500 m||2004||3:58:28||Moscow, Russia||May 30, 2004|
|1500 m||2003||4:07:25||Beograd, Serbia||May 25, 2003|
|1500 m||2002||4:11:00||İzmir, Turkey||May 11, 2002|
|1500 m||2001||4:11:31||Istanbul, Turkey||July 28, 2001|
|2000 m||2003||5:33:83||Istanbul, Turkey||June 7, 2003|
|3000 m||2004||8:35:83||Doha, Qatar||May 14, 2004|
|3000 m||2003||8:42:29||İzmir, Turkey||May 11, 2003|
|3000 m||2002||8:31:94||Brussels, Belgium||August 30, 2002|
|3000 m||2001||8:53:42||Grosseto, Italy||July 21, 2001|
|3000 m||2000||9:08:07||İzmir, Turkey||May 21, 2000|
|3000 m||1999||9:08:29||Bydgoszcz, Poland||July 17, 1999|
|5000 m||2004||14:24:68||Bergen, Norway||June 11, 2004|
|5000 m||2003||14:53:56||Paris, France||August 30, 2003|
|5000 m||2002||15:00:49||Hengelo, Netherlands||June 2, 2002|
|5000 m||2001||15:21:12||Grosseto, Italy||July 20, 2001|
|5000 m||2000||16:33:77||Santiago de Chile, Chile||October 17, 2000|
|5000 m||1999||16:06:20||Riga, Latvia||August 7, 1999|
|10000 m||2008||29:56.34||Beijing, China||August 15, 2008|
|10000 m||2006||30:21.67||Antalya, Turkey||April 15, 2006|
|10000m||2001||32:29:20||Tunis, Tunisia||September 12, 2001|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elvan Abeylegesse.|
| Women's 5000 m World Record Holder
June 11, 2004 – June 3, 2006
| Women's 5000 m European Record Holder
June 11, 2004 – July 19, 2008
| Women's 10,000 m European Record Holder
August 15, 2008 –
| Women's 5000 m Best Year Performance