Hometown: Checki, Ethiopia
Residence: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
800m 1:58.99 (2016) NJR
Habitam Alemu has made a name for herself as Ethiopia’s top half miler. In 2015, her first season on the professional circuit, Habitam took first place in top invitationals in Europe and then placed fourth in the 800m final at the All-Africa Games in Brazzaville. With a staggering eight second improvement on her previous year’s best time, Habitam qualified for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
While she didn’t advance beyong her opening round in Beijing, the experience of competing at a global championship clearly paid off. The following year, Habitam placed sixth at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon. Two months later, Habitam finished second at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar in a time of 1:59.14, a national junior record. Habitam qualified to compete in the Rio Olympics, where she made it to the semi-finals, setting another national junior record in the process.
Already an Olympic semi-finalist in her second year as a pro, Habitam now heads to the IAAF World Championships as one of the fastest women in the world and is a clear medal threat.