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Chemtai Salpeter wins first marathon bronze for Israel at World Championships

Kenyan-born runner achieves country’s best-ever result at the championships, is only third Israeli to win medal at competition

Bronze medalist Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel celebrates after crossing the finish line in the women's marathon final, during the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on July 18, 2022. (Jim WATSON / AFP)
Bronze medalist Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel celebrates after crossing the finish line in the women's marathon final, during the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on July 18, 2022. (Jim WATSON / AFP)

Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter claimed the bronze medal during the women’s marathon on Monday at the World Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Chemtai Salpeter — a native of Kenya who became an Israeli citizen in 2016 — finished the race with a time of 2:20:18, just two minutes behind Gotytom Gebreslase, who won gold with a time of 2:18:11 and Kenya’s Judith Jeptum Korir, who came in nine seconds after Gebreslase.

Sara Hall led a strong showing by the Americans with a fifth-place finish.

Chemtai Salpeter is only the third Israeli in history to win a medal at the competition and her result was a national best at a world championships.

Gebreslase broke the championship record of 2:20:57, set by Paula Radcliffe of Britain in 2005.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid took to social media to praise the marathon runner on her medal.

“Congratulations to Lonah Chemtai Salpeter on the historic medal she won today at the World Championships! Lonah’s willpower and determination are a source of pride for Israeli athletics and for the entire State of Israel,” Lapid tweeted. “Lonah, you are a champion.”

Last October, Chemtai Salpeter finished fifth among women who ran the London Marathon in, redeeming herself after her disappointing finish at the Tokyo Olympics, when, after experiencing severe pain due to menstrual cramps, she was forced to pause her run. She ultimately returned to finish the race and came in 66th out of 88 runners.

A year earlier, she won the Tokyo Marathon, setting a new record and her own personal best time, finishing at 2:17:45. In 2019, she came fourth in the Frankfurt Marathon with a time of 2:23:11.

Born in Kenya, Salpeter moved to Israel in 2011 and fought for citizenship for years. She eventually received Israeli citizenship in March of 2016, after winning the Tel Aviv Marathon, allowing her to compete for Israel in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

At the 2016 Olympics, Chemtai Salpeter also had a disappointing finish, when she had to stop before completion due to shoulder pain caused by running with the extra weight of breastmilk, as she was still breastfeeding her son at the time.

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