Hailu Mekonnen

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Hailu Mekonnen (born April 4, 1980 in Arsi) is an Ethiopian runner, who specializes in the 5000 metres and cross-country running.

His first medals came in 1998, when he took bronze and team gold at the junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and won a silver in the 5000 m at the 1998 African Championships in Athletics. With Haile Gebrselassie as his training partner, he continued to improve, winning the junior race and taking bronze in the senior short course for a medalling double at the 1999 World Cross Country Championships. He also won the 1500 metres gold medal at the All-Africa Games that year.

Mekkonen attended the 1999 and 2001 World Championships in Athletics and represented Ethiopia at the 2000 Summer Olympics, but he failed to make the podium at any of the events. His form improved in 2002 and he won the short race bronze and team silver at the World Cross Country Championships. He focused on the track in 5000 m the next year and won the 2003 All-Africa Games silver and the 2003 Afro-Asian Games gold medal. After a long time out of the spotlight of international competition he re-emerged in 2009 after switching to the half marathon and marathon.

Career

Mekonnen came to prominence at the age of eighteen with a silver medal performance in the 5000 m at the 1998 African Championships in Athletics, finishing behind reigning world champion Daniel Komen. He followed this up with a gold and team silver in the junior race and...
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