Israel’s men’s team took home a gold medal in the marathon team competition at the European Championships, held in the German city of Munich, 50 years after the massacre at the 1972 Olympics that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes.
Israeli runners Marhu Teferi and Gashau Ayala won the silver and bronze medals, with the former finishing in second place and the latter in third.
At this year’s competition in Munich, it was decided that medals would be awarded to both – individual athletes and teams. The teams’ final place was to be determined by the best overall result of its three fastest runners.
The Israeli team, made up of six runners, made their winning intentions clear from the get to and toward the end of the race it became clear the athletes will take the gold.
Teferi was even close to taking a gold medal for himself, but German athlete Richard Ringer passed him right as they were nearing the finish line. The two were immediately followed by Ayala.
Marhu Teferi, 29, has set Israeli records in both the marathon and half marathon. The accomplished athlete was born in Ethiopia and made Aliyah when he was 14, along with his parents and six siblings, while three additional siblings stayed back.
He is married to Selamawit Teferi, whom he met at a training camp in Ethiopia. After being wed, Selamawit received an Israeli citizenship and went on to break the Israeli record for the 1,500 and 5,000 meter runs, and came in 10th at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Monday’s contest marked the second time this month that Teferi has competed in a marathon, following his tremendous achievement at the U.S. World Championships in which he took 11th place – a record breaking result for Israeli male marathon runners.
It’s not customary that marathon runners run this distance twice in such a short period of time, but the team leaders asked him to do so and proudly represent Israel in the fight for the medal in Munich.
Gashau Ayala, 25, is the youngest of the Israeli team. Only three months ago, he broke the Israeli record for the 10,000 meter run in London, and was the first Israeli that completed this distance in less than 28 minutes.