Long-distance Runner Selamawit Bayoulgn Receives Israeli Citizenship

Ethiopian-born Bayoulgn is married to Israeli marathon record holder Marhu Teferi and could qualify for the World Championships as soon as next week

File photo: Selamawit Bayoulgn.
Tibor Jager

Selamawit Bayoulgn, a mid- and long-distance runner who is considered to be one of Israel’s greatest hopes in women’s track, received Israeli citizenship after a protracted bureaucratic battle. She is married to Marhu Teferi, the holder of the Israeli record in the marathon and half marathon.

Bayoulgn is originally from Ethiopia. She will try to meet the qualifying time for 10,000 meters next week at the Israeli championship meet and if she does so she could represent Israel at the World Championships in Athletics in Doha, Qatar this fall – as an Israeli citizen. Bayoulgn, along with Teferi and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, trains with Dan Salpeter at the Ben Shemen youth village.

“I can’t believe I received citizenship, it’s a dream that came true,” she said on the Facebook page of the Maccabi Tel Aviv club, which she and Teferi represent. Bayoulgn said she is excited to represent Israel and will do her best – and that she is beginning her journey to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 today as an Israeli citizen. She thanked the club for backing her the entire way, along with the Israel Athletics Association and the Culture and Sports Ministry.

Maccabi Tel Aviv said the team now has two women long-distance runners at the highest level of international competition.